What can your enterprise actually achieve in its cybersecurity policies? What pieces of common sense cybersecurity advice can your business actually achieve? Why does knowing this matter?
Currently, cybersecurity stands as a concern everyone knows about but that few know how to handle properly. Instead, cybersecurity professionals and observers share common pieces of cybersecurity advice to help businesses refine their policies. Sometimes, these pieces of cybersecurity advice are well-founded and practical. Others don’t quite meet the same standard.
Today, the editors of Solutions Review take a critical look at some of the common sayings regarding endpoint security. We see whether this advice represents true best practices or idealized goals not truly achievable.
Cybersecurity Advice and Endpoint Security: The Possible
You Can’t Click Anything on Any Email
In endpoint security, email remains one of the banes of professionals and users. Email often proves inherently insecure; valuable data could move through email without monitoring, and it provides the number one source of phishing attacks.
To combat the latter, many cybersecurity professionals advise that you should never click links or attachments in emails. Often, hackers use links and attachments to drop malware payloads, initiate ransomware, or bring users to credential-stealing sites. However, few business processes or workflows can function without the ability to click links or open attachments. In fact, this cybersecurity advice borders on the impossible.
More practically, you should encourage your employees to evaluate the links and attachments in their email messages. In cybersecurity, sometimes speed (normally valued in capitalism) becomes the enemy of caution. Encourage your employees to take time and evaluate the emails before following their directives. Check out our previous material on phishing attacks for more.
Make Patching A Critical Component
In endpoint security, a common refrain is “patch everything.” So goes the logic; patches contain valuable cybersecurity information. By delaying patching, you deprive your solution and device of critical intelligence in recognizing and deflecting attacks. In fact, the editors of Solutions Review are fond of repeating this cybersecurity advice.
However, the mantra doesn’t quite stand up to scrutiny. As enterprises’ IT environments scale, the number of devices that need patching also expands. Trying to patch all of them and keep them all patched all of the time would drain even the most dedicated IT security team. Further, trying to inventory all of the devices constitutes a herculean and perhaps Sisyphean task all on its own.
Instead, your enterprise needs to embrace prioritization. The most important endpoints should receive regular patching, and less important devices should receive only critical security patches as they arise.
Again, follow cybersecurity advice for your endpoint security that makes your cybersecurity optimal rather than perfect. Seeking out the perfect in patching could cause delays in workflows and may even unnecessarily eat valuable time.
Encryption certainly matters in endpoint security and cybersecurity in general. The power to encrypt data as it moves through your network or as it reaches remote workforces or workflow contacts is essential. Otherwise, external threat actors could easily intercept the information.
Alternatively, encryption can help devices protect the files they store, preventing hackers who bypass the digital perimeter from exploiting it. Therefore, cybersecurity advice tends to praise encryption.
However, there is the underlying challenge with encryption: you need to make sure the right individuals can easily decrypt the information. Without the power to decrypt promptly, you can actually cause serious workflow issues. So again, the key to following this cybersecurity advice comes down to prioritization; you need to know what information needs encryption rather than what information would encryption support in a non-essential way.
How to Get More Cybersecurity Advice
Check out our Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide. We cover the top providers and key capabilities on the market in great detail.
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