The cybersecurity principle of the locked door

You lock your home—now lock your network. This means having a reliable and secure data center and following basic safety rules, like locking down ports, shutting off services, removing rights and privileges when no longer justified, and using firewalls. You’ll also need host and network intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) as well as physical access controls such as badge, PIN pad and biometrics etc., to ensure you let only the right traffic and the right people in.

The best way to keep a secret is to encrypt it. But what to encrypt? Encryption can occur at many layers—the network, the physical disk drive, the database, or individual fields. All encryption is not the same; algorithms have different key lengths, some are slower in performance than others and some have been compromised through the ages. Be aware, and keep current with encryption techniques.

At the application layer, strong authentication is key. Create a process for good passwords and keep it simple so people will use it, but make it strong to keep the bad guys out. Passphrases, account ID images and challenge questions are other techniques. A simple technique to use for challenge questions is to not respond with the answer to the question being asked. If the question is “What is your mother’s middle name” use a word like “chair” or “fish.” These red herring responses cannot be traced back to your Facebook or other social accounts.

Remember that malicious insiders are also a threat; you must watch your watchers. Monitor systems to know what your staff is doing and ensure key functions are properly segmented—and that there are enough of the right hands at the right place to prevent collusion.

Interested in learning more? Download our new guide, The Common-Sense Approach to Cybersecurity.