Cybersecurity Success: Understanding Common Controls Part II

Robert Barresi - Enterprise Architect

What are the common cybersecurity controls and strategies? How can your organization implement them and avoid cybersecurity attacks?

By Robert Barresi, Enterprise Architect  

In Part I of this article, we discussed common cybersecurity controls and what you need to know about how each one can help protect your organization. In this installment, we will dive deeper into additional controls and provide you with recommended action items to put the right cybersecurity controls in place.

Principal of Least Privilege (PoLP)

PoLP works by assigning users the minimum access or privileges necessary to perform a task. This best practice ensures a protective starting point for every user and achieves a standardized approach through the enforcement of a least privilege policy, which is adopted by leadership and managed through the entire organization. PoLP reduces the risk of cybersecurity attacks that rely on exploiting user privilege and credentials. By requiring elevated privileges to access applications or systems, it helps prevent the spread of malware. PoLP complements Zero Trust networks or frameworks which require everyone to provide appropriate credentials in order to be trusted.

What you should know: PoLP offers stability for managing security, compliance, and operational requirements and can be applied with applications, systems, or Internet of Things (IoT)-related devices across an enterprise.

Identity Access Management (IAM)

IAM roles in cybersecurity prevent unauthorized access to a system or resources. IAM helps prevent fraud and assists organizations in meeting regulatory requirements. IAM requires users to have digital identities that are authenticated to verify that the user is who they say they are. With IAM, users only receive access to the resources and/or systems necessary to achieve their tasks.

Permissions can be granted through User Access Control (UAC) where each user receives certain levels of access based on his or her authenticated identity or through Role Based Access Control (RBAC) where users have access based on their roles within an organization. RBAC defines the functions that can be performed on a system or services that users can implement based on the duties of the role.

What you should know: IAM requires users to prove their identities, regardless of whether an organization uses UAC or RBAC. Roles provide a heightened level of control for preventing risks and vulnerabilities that can be leveraged by a cyberattack.

Cyber readiness: implementing cybersecurity controls and best practices

All organizations need to implement cybersecurity best practices and controls to protect and defend against malicious acts of intent, fraud, and potential harm. Agencies typically adopt multiple strategies or layers of defense models based on their individual needs. The controls we covered in this article arm you against ever-increasing cyberattacks. Once you acknowledge the reality and severity of these events, you can develop a successful model of defense that employs the right modes of technology to address your needs.

Creating a culture of cyber readiness is key to preventing attacks. As users of your organization’s digital infrastructure, employees at all levels are essential in developing and maintaining this culture of cyber readiness. Here are some suggested initial action items that can help your organization get started:

Action items for leaders
  • Learn about risks like phishing and business e-mail compromise
  • Develop a culture of awareness to encourage employees to make good choices online
  • Lead by example by modeling behavior
  • Establish the norm of the organization for a cybersecurity model
  • Maintain awareness of current events related to cybersecurity, using lessons learned and reported events to remain vigilant against the current threat environment
  • Lead change by creating, preparing, and providing the means to implement the proper security measures
Actions to take in consultation with IT
  • Leverage basic cybersecurity training to improve exposure to cybersecurity concepts, terminology, and activities associated with installing cybersecurity best practices
  • Identify available training resources through professional associations, academic institutions, the private sector, and government sources

As always, Octo stands ready to help your Federal Government agency put these cybersecurity practices in place. Reach out to one of our Cyber experts today to start a conversation.