NSA’s 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network

February 13, 2024

Cybersecurity has become a crucial component for any size of business to maintain their levels of safety in recent years. Threats from cyberattacks is at an all-time high, and the National Security Agency (NSA) have offered invaluable cybersecurity processes, in an attempt to fortify digital defences.

The NSA is a United States of America based agency; however, they are a leading authority in the realm of cybersecurity. Below are ten of the NSA’s best cybersecurity processes for your business network.

Cybersecurity Process #1: Multi-Layered Defence Strategy

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Implementing a multi-layered defence strategy involves deploying a combination of security measures across various network entry points to create overlapping layers of protection.

Some of these overlapping cybersecurity processes include:

  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
  • Antivirus Software
  • Anti-Malware Software
  • Email Security Gateways
  • Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
  • Network Segmentation

Having this level of combinations and sophistication reinforces the defences of a business against cyberattacks. Individually, all these factors play a role in the overall protection levels, however once combined, the levels of fortification are unmatched.

Cybersecurity Process #2: Enforce Strong Access Controls

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Controlling access to sensitive data and critical systems is essential for preventing unauthorised access and/or breaches. This cybersecurity process recommended by NSA includes:

  • Complex passwords
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Role Based Access Control

Complex passwords are crucial for enhancing the security of user accounts and protecting sensitive information from unauthorised access. Complex passwords are more resistant to brute force attacks, where automated tools attempt to guess passwords by systematically trying every possible combination of characters.

As well as this, they greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to credential stuffing attacks. Credential stuffing attacks occur when attackers use username and password combinations obtained from data breaches to gain unauthorised access to other online accounts belonging to the same users.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is crucial for enhancing the security of user accounts and protecting sensitive information from unauthorised access. MFA adds an extra layer of security beyond traditional password-based authentication by requiring users to provide multiple forms of verification before accessing their accounts.

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a method used to manage access permissions within an organisation based on user roles. RBAC operates on the principle of associating permissions with specific roles rather than directly assigning permissions to individual users. This approach simplifies access management by defining common sets of permissions that are relevant to particular job functions or responsibilities.

Cybersecurity Process #3: Regularly Update and Patch Systems

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Regularly updating and patching systems is a cybersecurity process that is essential for maintaining the security and integrity of an organisation’s IT infrastructure. Regular updates and patches are released by software vendors to address vulnerabilities and mitigate potential security risks.

Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in software and systems to launch attacks, such as malware infections, data breaches, or system compromises. Patching vulnerable systems in a timely manner helps prevent these exploits by closing security loopholes and strengthening the overall security posture.

In addition to addressing security vulnerabilities, software updates and patches often include performance enhancements, bug fixes, and stability improvements. Regularly updating systems ensures that they operate efficiently, remain reliable, and deliver optimal performance.

By applying updates promptly, businesses can take advantage of new features and improvements while minimising downtime and disruption to business operations.

Cybersecurity Process #4: Employ Robust Encryption Techniques

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Employing robust encryption techniques as a cybersecurity process is paramount for safeguarding sensitive data and communications from unauthorised access and interception.

Encryptions scramble data into an unreadable format using cryptographic algorithms, ensuring that only authorised parties with the decryption key can access and understand the information.

By encrypting sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII), financial records, or intellectual property, organisations prevent unauthorised access and maintain confidentiality, even if the data is intercepted or accessed by malicious actors.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) provides the highest level of security by encrypting data at the source device and decrypting it only at the intended recipient’s device. This ensures that data remains encrypted throughout its entire journey across networks and intermediary systems, protecting it from interception or tampering by unauthorised parties.

E2EE is commonly used in messaging applications, email services, and file-sharing platforms to ensure the privacy and security of communications and data exchanges.

Cybersecurity Process #5: Implement Network Segmentation

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Implementing network segmentation is a fantastic cybersecurity process, which involves dividing a network into smaller, isolated segments or zones to enhance security, manage network traffic, and improve performance.

Network segmentation serves as a critical security measure by limiting the scope of potential breaches and containing the spread of malware or cyberattacks. By segmenting the network into distinct zones, businesses can isolate sensitive assets, such as servers hosting critical applications or databases containing sensitive data, from less secure parts of the network.

In the event of a security incident, segmentation prevents attackers from moving laterally across the network and accessing sensitive resources, reducing the impact of security breaches, and minimising the risk of data exfiltration or system compromise.

Critical assets, such as servers hosting financial data, customer information, or intellectual property, require heightened protection to mitigate the risk of unauthorised access or tampering. Network segmentation allows businesses to isolate these critical assets within separate network segments, often referred to as “security zones” or “trust zones.”

By restricting access to critical assets to only authorised users or systems within the same segment, businesses can minimise the attack surface and prevent unauthorised parties from compromising sensitive data or systems.

Cybersecurity Process #6: Conduct Regular Security Audits and Assessments

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Conducting regular security audits and assessments is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of an organisation’s cybersecurity processes and identifying potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses that could be exploited by malicious actors.

Security audits and assessments involve systematically evaluating an organisation’s IT infrastructure, networks, systems, applications, and security controls to identify potential security risks and vulnerabilities.

By proactively assessing the security posture of the organisation, including its policies, procedures, and technical controls, security teams can identify weaknesses before they are exploited by attackers and take corrective actions to mitigate risks effectively.

Security audits and assessments help businesses identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and security gaps that could be exploited by cyber threats, such as malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, or insider threats.

By conducting vulnerability assessments and penetration tests, businesses can simulate real-world attack scenarios and identify potential entry points for attackers. This proactive approach enables organisations to remediate vulnerabilities and strengthen their defences before they are exploited by malicious actors.

Cybersecurity Process #7: Establish Incident Response Plans

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Establishing incident response plans is a critical cybersecurity process for businesses to effectively detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity incidents.

Incident response plans are proactive measures designed to prepare organisations for cybersecurity incidents, including data breaches, malware infections, insider threats, and denial-of-service attacks.

These plans outline the steps and procedures to be followed in the event of an incident, ensuring that the business is equipped to respond swiftly and effectively to mitigate the impact of the incident.

Incident response plans include procedures for detecting and triaging security incidents promptly. This may involve the use of security monitoring tools, intrusion detection systems, security information and event management (SIEM) systems, and threat intelligence feeds to identify suspicious activities or anomalies revealing a security breach.

By detecting incidents early and initiating a rapid response, businesses can minimise the impact and mitigate further damage to systems and data.

Cybersecurity Process #8: Provide Ongoing Security Awareness Training

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Providing ongoing security awareness training is a vital component of a business’s cybersecurity process.

Security awareness training educates employees about various cybersecurity threats, including phishing attacks, malware infections, and insider threats.

By raising awareness about the different types of security risks and how they can manifest, employees become more vigilant and better equipped to recognise and respond to potential threats in their day-to-day activities.

Security awareness training reinforces best practices for maintaining security in the workplace, such as creating strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links or attachments in emails, keeping software and systems up-to-date, and securely handling sensitive information.

By promoting these best practices, employees develop good security habits and behaviours that contribute to a more secure work environment.

By staying ahead of emerging threats, organisations can better prepare employees to recognise and respond to new and evolving cybersecurity challenges.

If you would like to learn more about Adept IT’s services or our cutting-edge cyber security awareness and training platform, click here.

Cybersecurity Process #9: Monitor Network Traffic and Activity

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Monitoring network traffic and activity is a critical aspect of cybersecurity processes that involves continuously observing and analysing data flows within a business’s network infrastructure.

Network traffic monitoring enables organisations to detect anomalies and suspicious behaviour that may indicate a security breach or unauthorised activity.

By analysing network traffic patterns, businesses can identify deviations from normal behaviour, such as unusual data transfer volumes, connections to unfamiliar IP addresses, or unauthorised access attempts, which could be signs of malicious activity.

Monitoring network traffic in real-time allows businesses to detect security threats and cyberattacks at an early stage, enabling prompt response and mitigation efforts.

By leveraging network monitoring tools, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, businesses can identify and respond to security incidents before they escalate and cause significant damage to systems or data.

Adept IT Solutions is the perfect choice for managing a business’s IT services, as we will focus on the monitoring of network traffic and activity, so you can focus on growing your business.

Cybersecurity Process #10: Collaborate with Industry Partners and Information Sharing

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Collaborating with industry partners and participating in information sharing initiatives are essential components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Collaborative information sharing enables businesses to receive early warnings about emerging cyber threats and security vulnerabilities from trusted sources, such as government agencies, industry associations, and cybersecurity vendors.

Collaborating with industry partners facilitates incident response coordination and information sharing during cybersecurity incidents or data breaches. In the event of a security incident, organisations can exchange information about the nature of the incident, the tactics used by the attackers, and the countermeasures deployed to mitigate the impact.

This collaborative approach helps businesses coordinate their response efforts, share best practices for incident remediation, and minimise the spread of cyber threats across interconnected networks.

BONUS Cybersecurity Process #11: Contact Adept IT Solutions Today

NSA's 10 Best Cybersecurity Processes for your Network - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

The final cybersecurity process that your business should action, is contacting Adept IT Solutions today, to discuss how we can assist with your business’s managed IT Services, IT compliance and auditing, and cutting-edge cyber security awareness and training platform.

If you would like more information about our full range of services, contact us on 1300 4 23378 (ADEPT) or email us at info@adept-it.com.au.

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