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How to improve your business’ critical infrastructure for cybersecurity

Critical infrastructure for cybersecurity

A business’ critical IT infrastructure is the underlying framework for how services are delivered. 

There are two distinct types of IT infrastructures: traditional and cloud-based. Both of which are critical infrastructure for cybersecurity.

Traditional infrastructure is generally located on site and access restrictions ensure they have fewer vulnerabilities. They are expensive, however, and require a dedicated maintenance team.  

Traditional infrastructure also lacks the flexibility of cloud infrastructure and introducing software updates can be difficult. 

Cloud infrastructure can be provisioned and managed from anywhere in the world. Hosting providers can deliver resources that are traditionally bound to physical hardware, virtually—via the internet. 

This offers smaller businesses access to high-performance software at the fraction of what it would traditionally cost. 

While the added benefits of scalability, agile development, and flexibility would make it seem like an overall upgrade from a traditional, physical system. It does come with its share of vulnerabilities—mainly due to its reliance on connectivity. 

Cloud infrastructure has gained a lot of popularity and you could say it is more widely used than traditional infrastructure. This escalates the need to improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure now more than ever before. 

Create an effective business continuity plan

From global surveys conducted between 2014-2019, and data gathered from over 1000 companies, it was calculated that an hour of downtime would cost companies roughly $300k each. 

If anything, these statistics emphasise the need for businesses of any scale to create effective continuity plans and introduce improved critical infrastructure for cybersecurity. 

A business continuity plan is a set of procedures, planned out in advance to bring your website or applications back online if a cyber attack does occur. 

The main focus of this plan is to keep your business up and running during a major incident. Disaster recovery plans, such as maintaining replicated servers both at on and off-site locations, on the other hand, focus on bringing your website or applications up after a major incident. 

Introduce a vulnerability remediation strategy and improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure

Vulnerability remediation is a crucial step in the vulnerability management process. Its scope includes the actual measures taken to eliminate threats. 

By introducing a vulnerability remediation strategy and best practices across your business, you can reduce the vulnerabilities that hackers can leverage. 

1. Understand your current infrastructure

Create a map or flowchart which includes all the hardware, software, cloud computing, running and dormant applications, services, and systems your organisation uses. 

2. Have the right scanning tools

Select a scanning tool that can scan continuously, observe internal and external processes, and choose authenticated software for internal scans. 

3. Create a prioritisation system  

Determine which vulnerabilities need to be addressed first. You can base this on how valuable the asset is, the level of expertise a hacker would need to access it, would a hacker be able to leverage it, and whether you have the capability to remedy it. 

4. Get your whole team involved 

Historical data indicates that 90% of cyber attacks are a direct result of employee behaviour. Not purposeful actions, but mistakes, negligence, and ignorance about safe cyber practices. 

It is important to educate all your employees—not just the IT staff—about cybersecurity hygiene, practices, and techniques. 

Create better critical infrastructure for cybersecurity by understanding your adversaries 

As a cybersecurity analyst, it is important to understand that organised crime and state-level players are increasingly involved in cyber attacks. They do not look at your organisation as a competitor would. 

They will see value in your digital assets in a way that neither you nor any other legitimate competitor would. Examples of this would range from the hacker using your resources to mine cryptocurrency or creating a botnet that attacks other organisations. 

In the current landscape, it is important to look at your network or system vulnerabilities from their perspective. 

Computers and internet-enabled devices have access to many things outside the digital world. This could mean that in the future we will see a rise in attacks on power generation systems, hard machinery, and hard assets.    

As we proceed towards complete connectivity it would be wise to keep a few protective measures and air gaps in between our critical infrastructure and the internet at large.  

Face a future of new threats by improving cybersecurity for critical infrastructure 

Predicting cyber attacks will get easier as technology advances. The threats, however, will also get more sophisticated. 

Cybersecurity is a game of cat and mouse, and being the cat should be our objective. Improve the critical infrastructure for cybersecurity in your organisation and take a step towards an offensive defence against cyber threats.

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