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Cyber Security Best Practices, Guidelines, and Resources for Your Cyber Security Engineering Career

Mercy Ugonna Njoku - October 01, 2022

As an employee, understanding your organization’s cyber security policies and practices should be your main focus as soon as you are onboarded. As a company, periodically reviewing the cyber security policies and limiting areas of possible security breaches is an excellent way to combat cyber threats and keep unauthorized users out.

Of course, this is becoming increasingly difficult because of widespread cyber crimes and cyber attacks. Hackers and malicious actors have been known to go to extreme lengths to infiltrate the intellectual property of even small-scale companies. Every employee plays a role in keeping the company’s information safe, so you must be aware of the best cyber security practices and how to implement them.

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security refers to the security policies, protocols, and tools used to protect networks, software, hardware systems, and servers from all forms of cyber attacks, cyber threats, and cyber terrorism. The implementation of security measures and strategies prevents unauthorized users from having access to sensitive data, software, and computer systems.

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Cyber Security covers aspects such as information security, network security, application security and cloud security. It also refers to all forms of end-user education to reduce human error and boost security awareness. Some of the most common cyber attacks and threats include ransomware attacks, viruses, SQL injections, trojans, phishing emails, and malicious links.

15 Concepts You Need to Understand for Cyber Security Best Practices

Whether you’re protecting mobile devices, networks, software applications, or systems, there are some concepts and terms you should be familiar with in order to properly implement cyber security best practices. These concepts are listed below.

  1. Incident response. Incident response refers to a well-structured set of policies and strategies put in place to detect and respond to cyber attacks and security breaches. They are usually carried out in stages to minimize the impact of the security incident.
  2. Network protocols. Network protocols are rules and guidelines that govern how data is shared, accessed, and processed among devices and systems within the same network coverage. Examples of network protocols include HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Internet Protocol (IP), and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
  3. Ethical hacking. Ethical hacking is the process of legally infiltrating the security barriers of a system, network, or software to detect and correct any vulnerabilities. This is done to prevent malicious attackers from detecting weak spots in the security system that enable them to compromise or steal sensitive data and resources.
  4. Disaster recovery. Disaster recovery refers to the principles, policies, and processes that businesses use to regain control and recover from all types of damage and natural or man-made disasters.
  5. Virtual private network. A virtual private network (VPN) is an encrypted private network that allows users to access and send data over a public internet connection while remaining anonymous.
  6. Advanced persistent threat. An advanced persistent threat (APT) is a premeditated security attack by malicious actors who infiltrate the infrastructural system network of the victim company using advanced hacking tools to gather sensitive data from the system for prolonged periods. The result is usually to weaken and control the victim’s IT systems and networks.
  7. Identity theft. Identity theft occurs when a malicious actor steals the victim’s personal or financial information, such as a birth certificate, social security number, password, credit card pin, or driver’s license, and uses it to commit illegal and fraudulent acts.
  8. Cryptojacking. Cryptojacking occurs when a malicious actor, usually skilled in programming and computers, steals the victim’s technology systems, such as mobile devices, laptops, and desktops, and uses the victim’s system and computing power to mine cryptocurrency.
  9. Authenticator. An authenticator is a security software that provides users with more than one layer of protection beyond a password through verification phases.
  10. Anti-virus software. Antivirus software is a computer program that is integrated into devices, networks, or systems and is used to detect, identify, and resolve malware attacks to boost the health and performance of the network or system.
  11. Social engineering. Social engineering is a form of psychological manipulation or ploy devised by a malicious actor to gather confidential information from the victim using social interactions.
  12. Malware. Malware is a malicious software program that a hacker uses to compromise data or cause networks, systems, or servers to malfunction. It includes all forms of viruses, ransomware, trojans, and worms.
  13. Security incident. A security incident is defined as an act or attempt to infiltrate and compromise an infrastructural or security system, software, or network.
  14. Trojan. Trojan is a deceptive program that is designed to infiltrate, steal, or damage sensitive data or networks.
  15. Firewall protection. Firewall protection is a computer shield in the form of a software or hardware system designed as a layer of security against network traffic and all forms of security vulnerabilities.

5 Common Challenges That Cyber Security Guidelines Can Address

Even with advanced security tools and techniques, hackers and malicious actors can still successfully attack and exploit confidential data and systems if cyber security best practices are not implemented to coordinate security efforts.

Issues with insider threats

Insider threats occur when there are undetected weak links within an organization or when people have access to computer systems, software, and networks and can use this to harm, leak, or compromise sensitive data. These weak links can be friends, current or former employers, and business partners. The cyber security best practice to resolve this issue is to constantly update your security systems.

Issues with social engineering attacks

Social engineering attacks are more difficult to detect and prevent because they rely on human discretion and perception. The attack creates an illusion of friendship and uses the acquired trust to weaken the victim’s resolve to reveal sensitive information. End-user education is the best cyber security practice to implement in an organization to raise security awareness about their tactics.

Issues with cloud computing vulnerability

Adopting infrastructure-as-code is one of the best ways to improve business efficiency and cut costs, but it requires knowledge of configuration management because misconfiguration can expose your cloud data and networks to vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. To avoid this, hire a cyber security engineer and a programmer to configure your infrastructure and maintain alternative backup systems.

Issues with evolving technologies

Some of the most serious cyber security issues confronting businesses and individuals are closely related to the growing use of AI and machine learning-based systems. Hackers can clone computer applications and systems to behave the way they want using AI and machine learning cloning.

Issues with malware attacks

The problem with malware attacks is that they are difficult to contain. You can get exposed to malware software from visiting sites, downloading files, opening unknown emails or attachments, and installing software applications. Antivirus software may fail to detect it at times, so you should implement a stronger security strategy. Set up automatic security updates on your system and be extra cautious while online.

Issues with hacking

Hackers are expert computer programmers who use their vast knowledge of computer systems and networks to further their own selfish interests. Sometimes all hackers need is quick access into your connected infrastructure systems and they can destabilize your system’s capacity and perpetuate their intentions. Keep your system’s security up to date and add an extra layer of security, such as a firewall.

Top 10 Cyber Security Best Practices and Guidelines

A computer programmer coding in the dark.
Hackers and malicious attackers can infiltrate the security systems of even companies with advanced security infrastructure if it doesn’t follow cyber security best practices.

Some general guidelines for protecting your personal or business hardware, software, and networks from unauthorized access are listed below.

Always use strong passwords

Creating a strong password is essential for protecting your devices from security threats. If your passwords are made up of weak combinations, hackers can easily crack them. There are techniques and tools available for breaking password combinations, and these tools operate through predictive modeling.

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Breaking through your security barrier and accessing your device is difficult when you have a strong password combination. A good password should include capital and lowercase alphabets, numbers, and symbols. However, while this security practice is ideal for personal devices, commercial devices require additional layers of protection.

Regular system and software updates

To protect your systems from insider threats and malware attacks, you should regularly update your devices. This will deter cyber attackers and cyber terrorists from infiltrating your devices and compromising your data as there are no visible security vulnerabilities. This is also a good way to improve the productivity of your system, as regular updates improve performance.

Automate your system and software updates if possible. This is an ideal way to improve system and software scalability, prevent malware attacks, system compromise, and data breaches as it eliminates human error. It is also ideal for updating your system or software version because installing new software or enjoying new software features may be impossible without it.

Adopt multi-factor authentication

For businesses and individuals to ensure the safety of confidential digital data, they must adopt multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is a multi-layer evidence system that grants users access after passing security tests. Only those who know the security questions can access the information using this method.

Multi-factor authentication ensures that password scaling risks are reduced. It also ensures that third-party users are denied access. It is ideal for safeguarding business data and sensitive financial or personal information. Companies that use this method stand a better chance of maintaining their integrity, meeting legal security requirements, and satisfying their customers.

Introduce a security clearance system for sensitive data

Not all employees should have access to the company’s sensitive data. There should be a security clearance system in place to prevent security incidents. A security clearance system authenticates a user with legitimate access to classified information and operates on a hierarchical basis.

Companies that deal with public or financial data and develop defense and security products should adopt this method for protecting their data. The benefit of using this system is that security checks and balances can easily be carried out and the company has a chance to build or retain its integrity with its stakeholders.

Adopt biometric security protection

Biometric security systems are an excellent way to prevent unauthorized access to your systems and networks. This feature is becoming more common in modern commercial devices and software. Organizations can purchase biometric security systems and software to control their employees’ security access.

A biometrics security system is an electronic signature that is used to grant access to individuals based on the validation of their physical and behavioral features. These features can be their fingers, palms, eyes, or faces. This method is an excellent way to protect your data, but it may be limited to those who can afford the cost of setup and updates.

Install automated virus scanners

An automated virus scanner is a security software that validates other software, systems, or networks after being cleared of potential security flaws. These scanners are a good way to keep your connected devices safe from malicious attackers. Virus scanners are inexpensive and a simple way to achieve good security health.

Individuals and small-scale organizations that cannot afford high-cost security technologies can easily manage their automated virus scanners. Some of the notable benefits of using this technology are that it is simple to set up and manage, receive valid security recommendations, and improve your online security awareness.

Regularly engage in end-user education

As a business owner or security professional, you can organize security training for your employees or clients to teach them about the tactics and techniques of malicious actors, particularly those involving social engineering and malicious software. This education will increase their security awareness or pique their interest in expanding their security knowledge.

You will have consistent productivity and be surrounded by trustworthy professionals who can be relied on to handle certain incident response tasks. End-user education can take the form of seminars, courses, or corporate training on specific security topics that are most relevant to the company’s line of business.

Have a multi-backup system for file protection

Adopting cloud computing should not remove the need for other forms of infrastructure backup. The issue with cloud computing is that you are handing over control of your systems and network to a trusted third party, but your data on the cloud can be hacked with technological advancements. Your account may be compromised or blocked.

This is why having a backup system is essential. You should always make sure that your data is backed up. If possible, use more than one backup strategy to ensure that you never lose important data. Choose backup tools from reputable vendors to ensure you get high-quality products.

Install network firewalls

Installing a network firewall is ideal for securing your private network from unauthorized access. A network firewall is a security software or hardware that detects and prevents network traffic from interfering with a private network. Using a network firewall has several advantages.

This security method guards your devices and networks against hackers and malicious attackers. It also protects the privacy of your online activities. It keeps viruses and ransomware from infiltrating your system. It prevents keyloggers from monitoring your device.

Frequently update security policies and protocols

Aside from implementing security tools and educating your employees on security trends and techniques, you should regularly update your security policies and protocols. A security policy is a set of rules or guidelines that govern how a company should prevent or respond to a security incident. Your security policies should reflect current security trends.

An effective security policy protects the organization’s infrastructure from external and internal threats. It specifies everyday business conduct and determines how the business can recover from security exposures and compromise. This is an essential requirement for all businesses.

How to Learn Cyber Security Best Practices

There are several ways to improve your cyber security knowledge and protect your digital assets by learning cyber security practices. If you’re an employee, you can learn about your company’s security policies, attend cyber security seminars, or participate in online tutorials and courses . If you are a manager, you can hire cyber security professionals to organize training for your employees.

Can a Bootcamp Help You Learn Cyber Security Best Practices?

Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you learn best practices in cyber security. Students interested in cyber security can take courses at coding bootcamps. These courses are typically accompanied by real-world projects that help prepare students for real-world cyber security challenges. Students who attend cyber security bootcamps enjoy a lot of advantages.

This educational platform not only prepares you for potential challenges but also makes it easy for students to master the techniques and skills required to excel in this field as cyber security professionals. Applicants are given financial aid and scholarships to help pay for their tuition. When they graduate, they are also provided with career services and job placement assistance.

Best Courses and Training Programs to Learn Cyber Security Best Practices

Provider Course Price
AWS, edX Getting Started with Cloud Security Free
Codecademy Introduction to Cybersecurity $16 per month
ESET Online Cybersecurity Awareness Training Free
Simplilearn Post Graduate Program in Cyber Security $2,599
Udemy The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed! $85

Should You Learn Cyber Security Best Practices?

If you want to improve your cyber skills or protect your networks and systems from data leaks or compromise, you must be familiar with cyber security best practices. Given the global rate of cyber insecurity, companies continue to pay cyber security experts well to implement effective security measures. According to ZipRecruiter, cyber security specialists have an average salary of $111,052 .

Cyber Security Best Practices and Guidelines FAQ

What are cyber security guidelines?

Cyber security guidelines are best practices developed by cyber security professionals and experts to guide the use of cyber security tools and the execution of cyber security strategies. This ensures that organizations and individuals who implement these practices achieve positive outcomes.

How do you practice cyber security?

To practice cyber security means you have to understand and adopt the cyber security best practices, design security policies and implement effective cyber security strategies that consider your type and scale of infrastructure, your security needs and the other users of your infrastructures.

What are the three pillars of cyber security?

The three pillars of cyber security are confidentiality, integrity and availability. These pillars are popularly called the CIA triad. They have been in existence since the 1990s. They have come to represent the foundation for any security policy and the goal of any security strategy adopted to protect an organization’s infrastructure.

What does ISO stand for in cyber security?

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization in cyber security. This is a non-governmental international organization with 165 member countries that share cyber security knowledge, develop security standards, and offer cyber security solutions. The central secretariat of this organization is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Mercy Ugonna Njoku

About the author: Mercy, a certified Executive Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, has a background in accounting and is a veteran content writer who holds a BSc in Business Management from Abia State University. In her writing, Mercy helps people navigate unfamiliar and complex situations in their professional lives so they can thrive. Her hobbies include drawing, working on startup projects, and engaging in discussions.

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