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Cyber hygiene: What is it? How important is it?

May 16,2018 / by Sam

Every business needs to have some basic essential levels of security. This forms the core of what is required to keep a business running securely. This basic absolute requirement will protect you from cyber attacks and is referred to as cyber hygiene.

Good cyber hygiene is fundamental to the basics of cyber security. You need to be asking yourself questions like: Is antivirus running across systems? Are regular back ups being taken? Is there network monitoring and some sort of identity management in place? Is a firewall configured properly to protect the network? Are there policies in place for employees regarding safe device and network usage?

Servsys Cuber Hygiene

Maintaining good cyber hygiene means providing in depth defense with various layers of security. Once you’ve measured the risks your company faces, here are some of the things you need to do to mitigate those risks at a basic level. These activities can be classified into three categories: proactive security, detective security, and reactive security.

Proactive Security

The best defense against cyber attacks is to prevent them altogether. In order to stop malware from breaching your systems, here are three essentials cyber hygiene requirements:

  • Network protection—forms your first line of defense
  • Web protection—set safeguards for users from visiting malicious websites
  • Patch management—closes loopholes before they become an entry point to attack
  • Mail security—stops incoming email threats, including malware attachments, phishing, ransomware, and spam

Detective Security

Prevention is only the first part of good cyber hygiene—when potential threats do arise, you should be able to catch them immediately. This requires:

  • Updated antivirus—ensures consistent malware protection
  • Failed login checks and rules—keeps brute-force attacks at bay
  • Active device discovery—lets you monitor devices before they cause harm
  • Log and report monitoring—monitors events and follows up on incidents

Reactive security

Solid proactive and detective security measures will enable you to shut down most threats, but the likelihood is that some will still slip through the cracks. If that does happen, you need to be able to quickly recover systems to a safe state, which means you need:

  • Backup and recovery—keeps data safe and gets you up and running quickly after a disaster
  •  Virtual server recovery—helps restore business continuity after attacks on physical servers and workstations
  • Local backup—helps restore data even during internet service disruption
  • Hybrid cloud recovery—provides on- and off-site data storage

The challenge with ensuring good cyber hygiene is that it’s the boring side of security; it involves repetitive things you need to keep doing in order to ensure that your business is secure. However, it will ensure that if an attack comes in, you see it and are prepared for it.

While cyber hygiene activities may lack excitement, if you neglect this, there are high changes that your systems will be hit. There have been several accounts of attacks that have exploited vulnerabilities due to outdated patches.

Unfortunately, there is no automated tool that will help you do this; it just requires simple, hard work—and hard work that needs to be done regularly. However, when done properly, good cyber hygiene can create a strong barrier between companies and their potential attackers within a relatively low budget.

Good cyber hygiene is about the getting the basics right and doing them regularly! 


Written by Sam

I'm very interested in the technology of all things. I like to write about these things.