What are cyber security controls?

Types of cyber security controls

What are cyber security controls? Cybersecurity controls are the countermeasures organisations put in place to detect, reduce, prevent, or counteract cybersecurity risks. These controls are the measures deployed to manage threats targeting computer networks and systems.  

Cyber security controls must adapt and evolve to an ever-changing cyber environment. Therefore, it’s fundamentally important to ensure that every organisation understands what controls are best suited for addressing their cybersecurity concerns.

Are cyber security controls essential? 

Cyber security controls are essential in today’s technologically advanced digital age due to the sophisticated methods used by hackers and cybercriminals. In response, businesses all over the world must implement the latest and best safeguards to strengthen their cybersecurity posture.  

By constantly monitoring for threats (here are 10 security vulnerabilities to look for) and adopting a holistic approach while adhering to international best practices and industry standards, organisations can ensure that their cybersecurity controls are at optimum, and their business is adequately protected. Let’s take a closer look at some cyber security controls examples. 

Assess the measures your company needs to provide the right security 

Assessing the measures your company needs to provide the right cybersecurity measures (here are some blogs on the latest security measures) and controls is key to protecting assets. Let’s take a look at the top four measures your organisation should consider: 

What’s the size of your company? 

The first step is to assess the size of the organisation to determine its cybersecurity needs. Taking a closer look at employee numbers, interconnected systems and network size are all important to determine which controls are needed to mitigate any challenges faced. It’s also an important part of decision-making related to financial planning.  

How much of the IT infrastructure needs to undertake security measures?  

The next step is to identify the IT components that are incorporated within cybersecurity controls. It is important that all IT elements are considered, whether they are owned, contracted or temporary. All information systems, network devices, applications, servers, cloud applications, and more should be included. A cybersecurity assessment will help an organisation list all assets associated with cybersecurity controls. 

What are the different security levels of information assets and IT assets? 

Organisations must identify the information assets and IT assets that require higher levels of security as the next step. The value and importance of the information and IT assets should also be determined. For example, personal identifiable information of customers might need a higher level of protection that other assets. Competition strategies or intellectual properties might also need higher levels of security to prevent costly data breaches. Assessing security levels should always relate to the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of critical IT information and systems. Providing risk ratings to assets will help determine which need higher levels of security than others. 

Ensure there are enough funds to carry out this process 

Cybersecurity investment levels should be fully assessed before planning for the acquisition and implementation of cybersecurity controls. Expenditure relating to data protection and IT security should be prioritised and given a budget according to the organisation’s needs. Other elements like training employees should also be factored into expenses.  

8 important cyber security controls for increased protection  

Although there are a number of cyber security controls available that can increase protection, there are some basic measures that should always be considered. Let’s take a look at the eight most important cyber security controls for increased protection: 

Multifactor authentication  

Multi-factor authentication requires two or more methods of authenticating the user. This can include text messages which contain security codes, fingerprints, or facial recognition. Not only does this bolster security but also ensures that only the right people are gaining access to important IT and information assets.  

Create an incidence response plan 

Your organisation’s cyber security risk mitigation strategies need to include a detailed incidence response plan, or a crisis communication plan, in the event of a cyber security breach. Your system recovery plan needs to protect systems, critical data, and configurations and a series of processes for restoring them as quickly as possible. Creating an incident response and system recovery team ensures that the plan will be implanted as quickly as possible with the resources they need to achieve it.  

Remote desktop protocol (RDP) 

Remote desktop protocol (RDP) provides a user with a graphical interface to connect to another computer over a network connection. The user utilises RDP client software for this purpose while the other computer uses RDP server software. However, RDP can be targeted by hackers to expand the attack surface in order to infiltrate your network more easily. Disabling remote services is a tried and tested method of thwarting attack by closing off one vector for remote attacks. The best approach here is to discuss options with a cybersecurity firm like RiskXchange to determine the best way forward.  

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) 

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is an endpoint security solution that continuously monitors end-user devices to pinpoint and respond to cyber threats like malware and ransomware attacks

Secure phones  

Secure smart devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops, and other devices like SD cards, USB sticks, and hard drives that can be used to transfer data. Portable devices used both inside or outside (via home Wi-Fi networks) of your network or system are at risk of attack. They introduce significant security risks such as company data breaches and should be secured accordingly.  

Invest in training employees 

Cyber threats can come in many guises and from all levels of an organisation. Educating employees on basic social engineering scams and sophisticated cybersecurity attacks like ransomware attacks, or on malware designed to steal personal data or intellectual property is key to helping staff stay vigilant and notice the threats.  

Keep backups  

Keeping backups and using sophisticated encryption are useful controls that preserve the integrity and availability of data. Even when the best cybersecurity measures are in place, a data breach can still happen. Backing up data on a regular basis ensures that you have alternatives if a data leak occurs.  

Limit access 

Limiting user access is a tried and tested access control cyber security strategy. One of the fundamental principles of information security is confidentiality, and access control reinforces this by ensuring that data, systems, and resources can only be accessed by accounts that are authorised to do so. As well as preventing theft and damage by malicious actors in the event of a breach, limiting access and control to accounts mitigates the threat from insiders.   

How RiskXchange can ensure you meet cyber security controls 

RiskXchange ensures that the cyber security controls utilised by your organisation adapt and evolve to an ever-changing cyber environment. We ensure that every organisation we work with understands what controls are best suited for addressing their cybersecurity concerns. Let’s take a closer look at what RiskXchange offers: 

Security risk ratings 

RiskXchange helps you monitor your vendors continuously, automate security questionnaires, and reduce third and fourth-party risk. We also enable users to monitor cybersecurity ratings, add vendors or partner organisations easily, and report on the health of their cybersecurity programmes and compliance.   

Attack surface management 

RiskXchange can also help you monitor your attack surface, prevent data breaches, discover leaked credentials, and protect customer data. We prevent breaches by monitoring your attack surface continuously across key domains—identifying critical security issues before hackers do.   

Digital risk protection 

We can also help you defend your organisation from threats to your digital systems and footprint with a fully-integrated Digital Risk Protection. With features like Account Takeover Prevention, Impersonation Protection and Dark Web Monitoring, our powerful solution helps you understand your threat landscape, mitigate vulnerabilities, and protect your business against malicious actors.  

360° Vendor risk management 

RiskXchange can quantify and proactively help you mitigate cyber risk across your entire third-party and fourth-party vendors ecosystem by delivering real-time continuous risk analysis and scoring of cyber risk using our advanced risk quantification methods.   

Security assessments 

We also make it easy to collaborate, reduce cyber risk, improve security maturity, and become compliant together. Upload, create, and modify as many assessments as required for your third-party suppliers. Automate security questionnaires and reduce third and fourth-party risk.  

Get in touch with RiskXchange to find out more about cyber security controls that will work for you.