How to
Jonathan Crowe
Oct 2015

5 Time-Saving Cybersecurity Tips to Take Back Your Future Workload

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In the spirit of Back to the Future Day, we’re sharing a handful of quick tips to help you save and make the most of your most precious commodity: time. Until you finish that flux capacitor you’ve been working on, implementing these tips is the next best thing.

5 Time-Saving Cybersecurity Tips

1) Automate your patch management

According to the attendee survey for the Black Hat USA 2015 conference this summer, addressing application vulnerabilities is the most time-consuming aspect of the average IT security professional’s day. Depending on the size and nature of your organization, patching systems manually can easily add up to hundreds or even thousands of man-hours. Automating the process can be an extremely effective alternative that drastically cuts down on costs, giving you back time and resources you can apply more productively elsewhere.

For more on how to evaluate patch management solutions, see Pete Lindstrom’s article “A Patch in Time: Considering Automated Patch Management”.

2) Use a password management tool

By taking away the responsibility of a) creating strong, unique passwords for every single online account; and b) actually remembering them, it’s easy to see why password managers are such appealing and effective time-savers.  

As security expert Troy Hunt explains, "Strong, unique passwords are a necessity, but by that very definition they’re not memorable. Passwords managers are the answer as they allow you to create one strong, unique password (which we can memorize), which protects and encrypts a collection of other strong, unique passwords (which we can’t memorize en mass)."

For a breakdown of available options, see PCMag’s roundup of The Best Password Managers for 2015.

3) Train employees to recognize phishing attacks

BlackHat 2015 attendee survey stats

Addressing application vulnerabilities ranked in as the top security time-suck in BlackHat’s attendee survey, but dealing with phishing, social network exploits, or other forms of social engineering followed close behind.

Attackers haven’t lost sight of the fact that employees are still widely considered to be the weakest link in any security infrastructure, so it’s no surprise phishing remains so popular and effective. The fact is, good phishing looks just like regular messages from people we know and care about, and to make matters worse, it can also be difficult to detect.

When it comes to phishing, prevention is the best defense. Investing in employee education and training now can save you a great deal of time and effort further down the line.

The SANS Institute's Securing the Human site has a variety of phishing training resources here.

4) Protect your data by automating backups

Yes, this sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s also one of those basic security best practices that can easily fall through the cracks, especially at small businesses. From deliberate attacks to accidental coffee spills, there are any number of ways your data might disappear or become corrupted. Unfortunately, restoring that data from backup is only possible if a backup exists in the first place.

Save yourself bouts of panic and make sure you’re using one of the many tools individuals and businesses can utilize to schedule automatic backups.

5) Get real executive buy-in as early as possible

Before you go off and running with any security initiative, it’s important for you to step back and make sure it aligns with your organization’s priorities. If you haven’t already, sit down with your leadership team to come to a clear agreement on why security is a necessary investment, what the top priorities are, and how those relate back to the primary goals of the business.

Remember, your leadership team doesn’t have to understand how security works, but they do have to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing (and be on board with what you’re ultimately trying to achieve).

Having one meeting now to establish and agree on what’s important can potentially save you a dozen time-consuming battles over budget.


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Jonathan Crowe

Jonathan Crowe

Jonathan covers the latest threats and cybersecurity trends from a practical perspective.

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