Essential 8 cyber security strategies

April 13, 2023

Essential Eight Cyber Security: ACSC: 8 ways to protect your business: Image courtesy of ACSC.
Essential eight cyber security: 8 ways to protect your business. Image courtesy of ACSC

In today’s digital age, it is essential for business owners to be concerned about cyber security.

Given the threat of a cyber-attack occurring, it is necessary to implement robust security measures that will help prevent attacks, limit their impact and help protect your business from any potential loss or breach of data that could occur.

One way business owners can help protect their business is to become aware of and follow the Essential Eight cyber security guidelines.

In this blog, we will explore what Essential Eight is, outline the eight essential mitigation strategies and explain how implementing these approaches will help to benefit your business.

What is Essential Eight cyber security?

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) developed Essential Eight as a set of strategies to help business owners to protect their assets against cyber threats.

The Essential Eight is based on the concept of mitigating the most common threats, which account for over 85 per cent of all cyber-attack incidents.

Essential Eight cyber security strategies are divided into two categories:

  • Mitigation strategies: which are designed to prevent cyber security incidents, and
  • Supporting strategies: which are intended to help business owners and their IT Support providers like Adept IT Solutions to detect and respond to cyber security incidents

The Essential Eight mitigation strategies

To protect your business, there are eight essential mitigation strategies to be aware of that can help to protect your organisation. The eight strategies are:

  • Application whitelisting

This strategy aims to prevent unauthorised software from operating on a system by only allowing approved applications to run. Implementing this strategy will help businesses to reduce the risk of malware and other cyber security attacks.

  • Patching applications

Cybercriminals often exploit software vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access to a system. By regularly completing patching applications to software, businesses can prevent these vulnerabilities from being exploited. Business owners should note that Adept IT Solutions has an robust system which will complete patching updates for software on any business device you require.

  • Patch operating systems

Just as with patching applications, it is important to keep your operating system up to date with the latest patches and updates. This will help prevent cyber-attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system. Again, this is a advanced software script performed by Adept IT Solutions.

  • Configuration of Microsoft Office macro settings

This strategy involves configuring Microsoft Office to block macros from untrusted sources. Macros can be used to execute malicious code on your systems. This is now a default setting of the latest versions of Microsoft Office. Therefore, users should be aware they should avoid manually enabling Macros.

  • Restricting administrative privileges

It is important to provide administrative privileges to only those who need them and revoke permissions to those who don’t, as this will help to prevent unauthorised access and malware threats from accessing your system. Part of this process is ensuring the team at Adept IT Solutions are kept up to date on any changes to staff or their level of access required to ensure we provide the appropriate access or restrict users who are no longer employed by your organisation so we can keep this up to date for you.

  • Application control

Designed as a security approach to protect systems from malicious code (malware), Application control ensures only approved applications (software, executables, scripts, installers, HTML applications, compiled HTML, control panel applets and drivers) can be executed. Adept IT Solutions install Adept Security & Compliance Software to assist with Application Control. If you need advice on what applications your business should install, the team at Adept can be contacted for further assistance.

  •  User application hardening

Application hardening involves a two-pronged approach as this involves protection from reverse engineering and tampering. To prevent these two issues from occurring, anti-debugging functions, code obfuscation, binary packing and white-box cryptography can be performed. These functions help to stop hackers from exploiting coding and encryptions and help to conceal secure passwords and functions behind applications.

  • Multi-Factor authentication

Introducing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) provides additional security controls for login credentials used to access software systems and program. Adept IT Solutions provides our clients MFA on many software packages including Microsoft 365 for Windows or Mac devices, SharePoint, Facebook, LinkedIn and Word Press, to name a few.

The Essential Eight supporting strategies

When it comes to the Essential Eight supporting strategies, there are four tactics to be aware of. The four strategies are:

  • Daily backups

Completing backups of your data on a regular basis is essential to prevent data loss in the event of a cyber-attack. Adept IT Solutions owns and uses a state-of-the-art data centre facilities where we can ensure your data is kept safe, secure and updated regularly. Learn more about our data centre facilities and how we can tailor these for your business today.

  • Application hardening

This strategy involves configuring applications to make them more secure. This can include disabling unnecessary features and protocols that can be exploited by cybercriminals.

  • Incident response

It is integral to have a plan in place to respond in the event of a cyber security attack taking place. Adept IT Solutions can assist clients to put an incident response plan in place to help you minimise any impact and recover more quickly should such an event take place.

  • Penetration testing

This strategy involves testing your system prior to any cyber-attack incident to check if any vulnerabilities may exist that can be exploited by criminals. By identifying weaknesses in systems prior to such an incident occurring, Adept IT Solutions can address any potential issues and amend them. We can provide penetration testing for any client to improve their cyber security or for insurance purposes. If you want to arrange this, contact one of the Adept IT Solutions team. 

To learn more about Essential Eight, visit the ACSC site information here today.

How is Adept IT Solutions helping to raise cyber security awareness?

Adept IT Solutions: raising cyber security awareness of Essential Eight.
Adept IT Solutions: raising cyber security awareness of Essential Eight

To assist our clients with improving the cyber security of their systems and improve their awareness, Adept IT Solutions provides comprehensive cyber security awareness training.

If you would like to know more about our cutting-edge cyber security awareness and training platform click here, or please feel free to contact Adept IT Solutions on 1300 4 23378 (ADEPT) or email us at info@adept-it.com.au.

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