A survey shows more than 80% of companies have been hacked in the past. Threat actors don’t rest and are ready to cause harm to steal data or money, putting your company in trouble. You can defend yourself if you focus on enterprise security. So, what are the enterprise security best practices?
Enterprise security best practices include educating employees, establishing zero-trust architecture, and having a recovery plan ready. Monitoring activity, updating software, and backing up data also play a big part in this area. Enterprise security is fundamental for compliance.
Paying attention to security will give you a headache – because there are a lot of areas to take care of. Fortunately, you can start one place at a time, creating a strong cybersecurity model to protect your cash flow and customers’ data. Understanding enterprise security as a concept is the first step.
- What’s Enterprise Security?
- Why Does Your Company Need Enterprise Security?
- Benefits of Enterprise Security
- 3 Stages of Enterprise Security
- 10 Enterprise Security Best Practices
- 1. Take Cybersecurity to Every Department
- 2. Educate Your Employees
- 3. Protect Data Through All Stages
- 4. Monitor Activity Every Second of the Day
- 5. Establish Zero-trust Architecture
- 6. Protect Every Endpoint
- 7. Follow a Least-privilege Principle
- 8. Update Software and Hardware
- 9. Have Multiple Backups at Multiple Locations
- 10. Create a Recovery Plan and Have It Ready
- Can a Company Survive Without Enterprise Security?
Enterprise security encompasses strategies, policies, and processes to ensure threat actors won’t succeed in their efforts. Simply put, ES keeps data safe from falling into the wrong hands.
Your enterprise security will protect everything tech-related in your company: devices, data, and other details you need to pay attention to, so you can prevent a data breach and other devastating scenarios.
The main difference between enterprise security and (what some people see as) traditional security is that ES takes a holistic view of cybersecurity by taking care of users, networks, and devices, ensuring data stays safe throughout its journey.
- The Cloud. Companies are migrating their servers to the cloud. They’re also choosing more cloud-based solutions than ever before. That means you have to turn your efforts into protecting your data in transit and in storage: joining forces with your cloud provider to make sure there are no security issues whatsoever.
- Compliance. Enterprise security plays a big part in the world of compliance. Rules and regulations exist to keep citizen data away from harm, and investing a good part of your time and budget to ensure that is a must, lest you want trouble with law enforcement. How can you make that happen? Create a solid enterprise security strategy.
- Internet of Things. IoT devices are becoming the preferred target of threat actors: there are over 17 billion of them worldwide, and most of them offer lousy security protocols. Your smart TV, coffee pot, and any other appliance often work as a network entry point for malicious actors. Deploying an enterprise security strategy helps mitigate that risk.
- Vendors. Most companies used a firm handshake and a paper trail to deal with vendors back in the day. Nowadays, companies use their software and hardware, which could turn problematic if your vendor of choice suffers a cybersecurity breach. Enterprise security also includes vetting vendors and making sure they remain compliant.
- Increased Cybersecurity. The number one advantage (and main focus) of enterprise security is increasing your cybersecurity. Simply put, it’s there to stop the bad guys from doing bad things. For example, monitoring data will help you detect suspicious activity – so you can swiftly deal with that.
- Decreased Attack Surface. You’ll notice there are a lot of areas where threat actors will try to attack your company. They’ll send malicious emails, try to trick you into downloading malware, use social engineering to crack your password, and more. All those scenarios become less likely when you have an enterprise security strategy.
- Better Chance at Compliance. Cybersecurity compliance is all about making sure customer data is safe from harm. What better way to make that happen than following enterprise security best practices? You will have to make other compliance-specific efforts to make the cut, but you’ll cover plenty of ground by following these principles.
- Lower Chance of Malware. One of the best parts of following enterprise security best practices is that the chance of infecting your network with malware plummets. You’ll recognize common telltale signs of a cyberattack, helping you to avoid trouble. At the same time, this type of strategy also includes installing software and hardware to detect any threats.
- Preparation. It’s impossible to deal with enterprise security unless you know the system you’re working with. Looking at software, hardware, employees, and most moving parts in a company is a key aspect here. The preparation phase also includes thinking about possible attacks and natural disasters to deal with.
- Creation. Creating an enterprise security strategy comes after preparation. You already have the information, so you have to shape that into prevention and response guidelines for all employees to follow.
- Review. You’ll have to review your enterprise security strategy every so often. Once every quarter is okay, but you’ll also have to do so after an attack (no matter if successful or not). That way, you can see what works and change what doesn’t work.
It’s important to understand every item on this list applies to all departments.
It doesn’t matter if people in sales or HR aren’t tech-savvy or don’t use devices that often. Human Resources logs employee data, and salespeople deal with product data, and so on.
The perfect enterprise security strategy has no weak links. Otherwise, threat actors will target that element and compromise the entire company, no matter how solid your strategy is everywhere else.
Experts agree training your employees reduces the chance of suffering a data breach or another cybersecurity-related incident.
Most people are tech-illiterate and have a hard time telling a real email from a phishing scam apart, so they need a push in the right direction to defend themselves from threat actors.
The best way to introduce cybersecurity best practices to regular people is to do it soon and often: cybersecurity training should be mandatory every quarter.
That may sound expensive and time-consuming, but suffering one data breach is enough to close a startup or small business.
You’ll often spot data in three stages: in use, in transit, and in storage. That means you can, for example, read a file, download or upload a file, and leave it in the server or cloud. Your enterprise security strategy should protect data in all three stages.
Backups are also necessary – but we’ll discuss that below. For now, you should know encrypting data in two of the three stages (you won’t encrypt data while you use it) is a must.
Otherwise, threat actors may catch it in transit (during a Man In The Middle attack) or in storage (if they compromise your network). You should have software in place to avoid threat actors stealing data while you use it.
Catching bad guys in the act is not enough: you have to spot telltale signs of an incoming cyberattack. How can you detect an attack is about to happen? You have to monitor activity to do so!
Let’s take an insider threat as an example. An employee is either compromised or has gone rogue – and they’re about to cause a data breach. Monitoring activity will help you detect an employee looking for files they shouldn’t have access to, signaling something’s wrong.
Malware can also be detected before it’s too late: you have a few minutes before ransomware encrypts your data, and monitoring activity can spot a malicious program before it acts.
Zero-trust architecture establishes a network model where every user must authenticate their connection every time they connect to a server. It sounds tedious – but it’s a great strategy to prevent catastrophes.
Your employees will have to validate their connection – and so will threat actors if they steal someone’s credentials. A daily one-minute hassle could prevent a one-million-dollar data breach.
This type of security strategy should apply to the entire workforce, including bosses and the IT department. Zero-trust architecture doesn’t work if there are weak links malicious actors can target.
An endpoint is every device most users interact with: computers, laptops, phones, and similar. It’s called an endpoint because it’s the end point of a network – where information travels last.
Watching every endpoint is a must for having proper enterprise security. It’s where most malware infections begin and where trouble usually spreads.
One of your workers downloads an infected attachment from their computer, and a crisis is minutes away – unless you’re protecting that (and every other endpoint).
How can you protect your company’s endpoints? Download software to do so. You need an antivirus, firewall, monitoring software, and more.
A least-privilege principle allows employees and customers to fulfill their roles without having the chance to cause harm (intentionally or otherwise). In other words, it gives users who interact with your network the power to do what they need, not what they want.
Let’s take a simple sales spreadsheet as an example. Whoever is in charge of checking it should be able to read the spreadsheet – but never to edit it, let alone delete it. They have the least privilege possible, which is checking it.
Following this principle reduces the chance of an employee negligently causing trouble or a threat actor doing a privilege escalation attack.
Having unpatched software installed makes it easier for threat actors to introduce themselves to your network. It’s the same as letting your computer carry a bag of vulnerabilities, waiting for the worst to happen.
What should you do about unpatched software? Update it! We recommend setting auto updates on, so you can forget about it. Check for updates every week if that option is not available for whatever reason.
Hardware works the same way. It’s not a good idea to have old hardware that can’t run the latest software – because it leaves you running unpatched software by default. It’s time to buy new devices if that happens.
Having one backup alone is as good as having none. You can easily lose, corrupt, or compromise it. You need at least two or three backups – and you need to have them in different locations! Having three backups on the same server is the same as having one backup.
Why do you have to be so careful about backups? Because you’ll never know when you’ll stumble upon corrupted data or cybercriminals, so it’s better to be prepared. What’s worse, malicious actors will target your backups in certain cases (e.g., a ransomware attack): the more backups you have, the less likely you’re to face a worst-case scenario.
A backup is but a piece of the puzzle. You need to be ready for every catastrophe imaginable (within reason).
For example, what will your company do during a power outage? What about a natural disaster? How can you ensure business operations continue to run when facing a cyberattack?
Remember the three stages of enterprise security: Preparation, Execution, and Review. This three-step plan will guide you when you have to think about facing different catastrophes.
Don’t forget to review your recovery plan – before it’s too late. You don’t have to wait until a hacker targets you. You can hire ethical hackers to play Blue vs. Red team.
No business or company can survive without enterprise security: small businesses and startups often close shop after the first data breach, and big companies will face bankruptcy after receiving the first round of compliance fines that comes after a successful cyberattack.
Why do companies need enterprise security? Because it’s the one thing that keeps cybercriminals at bay. An ES strategy allows your business to handle cybersecurity holistically: watching endpoints, educating employees, and making sure data is safe.
What’s the alternative? Leaving your company to chance. Threat actors will love that! Your customers, not so much.
Enterprise security best practices include training employees, monitoring activity, and establishing zero-trust architecture. Being ready for a worst-case scenario by having backups and a recovery plan ready is also a must.