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A baseline security model, aligned with business objectives and operational needs, is an invaluable set of standards for your organisation. It helps you understand your security posture, identify security gaps, and meet cybersecurity regulations, all while instilling confidence among stakeholders and customers about your organisation’s commitment to cybersecurity. Without this model, your organisation is significantly more vulnerable to cyberattacks, potentially leading to data breaches, financial loss, and damage to reputation.

Establishing an effective baseline security model is a multi-faceted task that requires careful consideration of several factors. While the complexity and evolving nature of cyber threats make it challenging, by focusing on eight key areas, your organisation can lay a solid foundation for your cybersecurity infrastructure:

  1. Critically assess current cybersecurity measures by evaluating security protocols, infrastructure, and potential vulnerabilities to determine your organisation’s existing security position before adopting new strategies.
  2. Align security measures with your organisation’s broader business goals and operational needs, ensuring that security controls enhance rather than impede day-to-day business processes.
  3. Allocate essential resources for cybersecurity, such as skilled personnel, technology, and budget.
  4. Train staff on cybersecurity best practices, threat awareness, and the overall importance of cybersecurity to reduce human error and cultivate a culture of security awareness within the organisation.
  5. Update and monitor security protocols regularly to keep pace with new and emerging cyber threats, ensuring ongoing effectiveness against new cyberattack methods.
  6. Adhere to regulatory requirements and standards, which involves understanding and complying with laws and standards relevant to your organisation’s operations and jurisdiction for compliance.
  7. Scale and adapt the security model to meet the changing needs of the business, ensuring the security infrastructure evolves in tandem with organisational growth.
  8. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan to ensure your organisation is well-prepared to effectively manage and recover from security breaches.

Essential Eight explained

Although there is no foolproof method to completely safeguard against all types of cyber threats, it’s highly recommended that organisations adopt a foundational set of eight critical mitigation strategies, known as the “Essential Eight.” This framework, developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and outlined in the Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents, significantly increases the difficulty for adversaries to breach systems.

An effective baseline security model, when augmented by the Essential Eight strategies, provides a robust framework to defend against cyber threats. These strategies comprise a set of cybersecurity controls specifically designed to mitigate the most common and impactful cyber threats.

These controls include:

  • Application control/whitelisting: prevents execution of unapproved or malicious software, adding a layer of security beyond antivirus software.
  • Patch applications and operating systems: regular updates of software and operating systems are critical to fix vulnerabilities that could be exploited by adversaries.
  • Configure Microsoft Office settings: secure configuration of macro settings in Microsoft Office applications prevents malicious code execution.
  • User application hardening: involves securing web browsers and other applications against cyber threats.
  • Restrict administrative privileges: limits administrative access to prevent widespread implications of potential breaches.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that compromised passwords alone cannot provide system access.
  • Regular backups: ensures data and configuration settings can be restored in the event of a ransomware attack or data loss.
  • Mitigation strategies and maturity levels: the Essential Eight Maturity Model guides organisations in assessing and improving their cybersecurity implementation through four maturity levels:
    • Maturity Level 0: indicative of weak cybersecurity postures
    • Maturity Level 1: focuses on mitigating risk from opportunistic threat actors
    • Maturity Level 2: targets adversaries using more advanced techniques
    • Maturity Level 3: deals with resourceful adversaries employing sophisticated tools and techniques.

Together, these measures create a strong defensive posture for organisations, aligning with global best practices and significantly reducing the risk of cyber incidents. However, establishing a baseline security model is a complex task, due to the continuously evolving nature of cyber threats, the need for specialised skills, and the difficulty of integrating security measures within business operations, particularly with a lack of resources. Given these challenges, it is often more pragmatic and effective for businesses to look outside the box and consider external expertise.

How Techwell can help

At Techwell, our extensive cybersecurity services align closely with the security baseline model and the Essential Eight frameworkfor comprehensive protection against digital threats. Our proactive 24/7 monitoring, in-depth cybersecurity assessments, and thorough audits to identify vulnerabilities can help your organisation establish a strong security baseline. We also provide robust defences against cyber threats—including ransomware—while ensuring the digital security of your computing infrastructure, coupled with our data encryption services to protect your intellectual property and sensitive information.

To learn more about how Techwell can help your organisation create baseline security for your network, contact the team today.

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