Blog: Cybersecurity

The Top 5 Cybersecurity Measures to Take in 2023

January 27, 2023 - by Chris Gebhardt

As we analyze insights from 2022, it is evident that CIOs are anticipating cybersecurity to be a top investment priority in 2023. This is especially true as enterprises battle escalating business risks.

In the first half of 2022 alone, close to 2.8 billion malware attacks and 236.1 million ransomware attacks were reported worldwide. In an era where attackers and scammers are becoming extremely sophisticated, staying up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats is critical. This is to protect yourself, your company, and its reputation.

Synoptek’s Cybersecurity Consulting Service follows four guiding principles; concision, creativity, reasonability, and practicality. Unfortunately, most recommendations you will come across about increasing cybersecurity focus do not follow those principles. In this blog, we will highlight the top 5 cybersecurity measures every organization must embrace in 2023 and beyond. 

1. Zero Trust Architecture

One of the first concepts organizations must implement in the context of cybersecurity is Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA). The goal of ZTA is to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems, even if an attacker manages to compromise the network perimeter. As a security model, ZTA assumes all network traffic is untrusted and requires verification before accessing any resources. Therefore, all users, devices, and network traffic are treated as potential threats and subjected to stringent authentication and authorization controls.

Since ZTA is designed to be flexible and adaptable, organizations can implement security controls that best fit their specific needs. Using it with other security measures, for example, Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems, can provide a comprehensive security solution. While enabling ZTA, it is important to keep key principles in mind, including:

Least privilege: Devices and users are only granted access to the resources necessary to perform their tasks.

Micro-segmentation: Network traffic is segmented into small, discrete units, and access is tightly controlled.

Continuous verification: All network traffic is continuously monitored and authenticated, even if it originates inside the network.

Multiple layers of security: ZTA employs several layers of security controls, including firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, and unified endpoint security

The key aspect of this recommendation is understanding that ZTA is a continuous journey and not a one-time activity.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication

As a security process compels users to provide multiple pieces of evidence (or “factors”) to verify their identity. Multifactor authentication (MFA) is widely used to secure online accounts, such as email and financial accounts. It is also employed to control physical access to buildings and other secure areas. It makes unauthorized access to an account or system more difficult, requiring hackers to pass through multiple levels of authentication to be successful.

While enabling MFA in the coming year, organizations must be aware of the three main types of authentication factors:

  • Something you know: This could be a password, a PIN, or a security question.
  • Something you have: This could be a smartphone, a security token, or a smart card.
  • Something you are: This could be a fingerprint, a facial recognition scan, or a

There is little to no justification for an organization to operate in 2023 without enforcing MFA everywhere.

3. System User Audits

A system user audit reviews and evaluates system users (also known as “accounts”) within an organization’s IT ecosystem. It aims to ensure all system users are properly authorized and that their access is appropriate and secure.

In the coming year, organizations will increasingly need to conduct thorough system user audits and review the following information:

  • System user accounts: List of system users to ensure that all accounts are properly authorized and that there are no unauthorized accounts.
  • User roles and permissions: Roles and permissions assigned to each user to ensure that they are appropriate and in line with job responsibilities.
  • User activity: Activity of each system user to ensure they only access the resources they are authorized to access and that their activity is consistent with their job responsibilities.
  • Password management: Password management policies and practices to ensure that passwords are being properly managed and that no weak or easily guessable passwords are used.

The results of a system user audit must then be used to identify and address any security weaknesses or vulnerabilities. As a best practice, organizations must conduct system user audits quarterly.

4. Subject Matter Experts

In 2023, organizations must also engage with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who have a deep understanding and expertise in cybersecurity. Through cybersecurity assessment services, they can help identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities as well as protect an organization’s systems and data from threats.

There are several ways organizations can utilize SME expertise to increase cybersecurity in the coming year:

  • Identifying potential vulnerabilities: SMEs can review an organization’s systems and processes to identify potential vulnerabilities that cyber criminals could exploit. This goes beyond simple vulnerability scans and focuses on processes used by the organization.
  • Developing and implementing security measures: SMEs can help develop and implement effective security measures, such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and antivirus software, to protect against cyber threats.
  • Providing training and education: SMEs can provide training and education to employees on identifying and preventing cyber threats. They can also educate users on how to respond if a cyberattack occurs.
  • Assisting with the incident response: In the event of a cyberattack, SMEs can assist with the investigation and response efforts. This can help minimize damage and restore systems as quickly as possible.

Overall, the expertise and knowledge of SMEs can be an invaluable cybersecurity measure that helpings organizations improve their cybersecurity posture and reduce the risk of cyber-attacks. As the cybersecurity insurance market matures, the coming year will witness an increased demand for SMEs to assist with insurance renewals.

5. Third-Party Management Program

Another critical step organizations must take in 2023 is investing in a good third-party management program. This is to ensure they function as one entity while working with trustworthy and reputable third parties. The program can help evaluate and assess potential third parties. It can also enable ongoing monitoring and management to ensure they meet the organization’s standards at any given time.

Here are the key components that should be included in a third-party management program in the coming year:

  • Risk Management Framework: The program should include a process for evaluating and assessing risks associated with working with a particular third party, including financial, legal, and reputational risks.
  • Due diligence: The program should include a process for conducting due diligence on potential third parties to verify their credibility and reliability. This includes checking references, reviewing financial statements, and verifying licenses and certifications.
  • Contract review and management: The program should include a process for reviewing and negotiating contracts with third parties. This is to ensure that they meet the organization’s standards and protect its interests.
  • Ongoing monitoring: The program should also include a process for continuous monitoring of third parties. This is to ensure that they meet their obligations and continue to comply with organization standards.
  • Escalation and remediation: The program should have a process to escalate and address any issues or concerns that arise with third parties. It should also help in taking corrective action as necessary.

Overall, a good third-party management program should be comprehensive, proactive, and well-defined. It should have clear processes and procedures to ensure that the organization works with trustworthy, responsible, and reliable third parties.

Keeping These Cybersecurity Measures in Mind

In the coming year(s), as the threat landscape expands, businesses must take a proactive approach to cybersecurity threats. They must become more nimble, agile, and collaborative to protect their critical assets. However, the far-reaching tentacles of cyber threats make it difficult for organizations to focus on their core business goals.

Working with cybersecurity consulting service providers like Synoptek is a great way to prevent, detect, and respond to evolving threats. Explore our SECURES maturity model to achieve effective and efficient cybersecurity inside your environment. Or contact us to learn how you can safeguard your data, secure your business, and protect your customers through our Cybersecurity Assessment Services.

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