20 Best Cybersecurity Checklist

It is essential to have a cybersecurity checklist as cybersecurity investments can be complicated. First, an organization must identify and assess the vulnerability of its assets. Then, it must allocate enough budgets to improve their security. Companies should include at least the following in any cybersecurity program:

  1. Methods to identify and assess cybersecurity risks and threats
  2. Protect your assets against attempted cyber intrusions
  3. Find instances where IT assets or systems are compromised
  4. Prepare a response for any security breach or data breach
  5. Implement a recovery plan to recover stolen or lost assets

A holistic program covers all IT assets and information systems. It can be difficult to create a comprehensive cybersecurity program for organizations that have a lot of software, hardware, and network products. A cybersecurity checklist is necessary. A cybersecurity checklist lists the items that need to be protected. It documents and identifies a number of cybersecurity standards, policies, procedures, and controls. These sections will discuss the most important items to include in a cybersecurity checklist.

The most important security best practices

Every organization should have a plan for securing sensitive data and other critical information systems. These three items are crucial for maintaining a useful cybersecurity checklist.

1. Documented policies

Documented policies outline the security guidelines and obligations employees have when they interact with company networks or systems. These policies allow organizations to ensure that employees, managed service providers, and third parties adhere to minimum security requirements. A cybersecurity checklist should include policies regarding acceptable use, internet access and email, remote access, encryption, privacy, disaster recovery, and security.

2. Acceptable Use Policy

An acceptable use policy should be included in a cybersecurity checklist. Acceptable use is a set of rules that regulate the use of information assets and data within an organization. This policy is essential as it prohibits system users participating in activities that could impact cybersecurity. All new users, whether they are employees, contractors, or third parties, must agree to the rules. Before being permitted to access company networks or computer systems, you must agree to this. Users acknowledge that they have read the policy and agree to follow the minimum security recommendations of the organization. This ensures that users will not pose security threats or risks to the business.

3. Policy on Internet access

Most people use the internet every day. The internet is used for research, cloud services access, communication via email or social media platforms and many other purposes. The internet can also be a liability to an organization for many reasons. Cyber actors use the internet to distribute malware. They can install malware on a website so that anyone who visits it downloads and then installs it. These and other internet-based attacks are common. A cybersecurity checklist should contain a policy that governs internet usage within an organisation. An internet access policy outlines guidelines for how users can access the internet and interact with it. An internet access policy may restrict users’ access to certain websites or limit the frequency at which they can access social networking sites. This could facilitate the adoption and strengthening of cybersecurity postures.

4. Emails and communication policy

Emails can be used both internally and externally. An email account is required for all employees of an organization. An attacker’s preferred method of delivering Phishing malware is via email. In the hope that malware-laden attachments or links will be clicked on by hackers, hackers send out emails to multiple targets in large numbers. An email policy can help a company prevent phishing attacks and improve the security of its data. This policy could include rules that require employees to not open email from unknown senders. It can also require that all emails incoming be scanned for malicious attachments and links with hidden malware. Employees should be required to use work-related data only in accordance with an email and communication policy. These policies are vital to organizational security and should be part of a cybersecurity checklist.

5. Policy on remote access

Cloud technologies are becoming more popular with businesses. This is done to increase their data collection and processing methods and to improve employee productivity. Cloud services are increasingly embedded in daily business operations. A cybersecurity checklist should include a remote access policy. When accessing cloud accounts remotely, remote access policies are necessary to ensure security. Cloud access allows users to access data from any device and location. They can also work remotely from home. Remote access policies ensure that employees follow secure procedures when accessing sensitive data. The policy could require employees to use VPNs when accessing sensitive information via a public or insecure network.

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6. Policy on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

The Internet of Things has seen a rapid increase in popularity over the past few years. This has led to increased usage of internet-enabled gadgets. Most employees now prefer to use personal devices like smartwatches and smartphones for their work. There are increased risks because hackers have more entry points to devices that they can use. Users may not be able to spot vulnerabilities in their devices, however. Accessing corporate data or connecting to it using vulnerable devices can compromise their integrity, confidentiality and availability. BYOD policies allow organizations to control the use of personal devices in a work environment. This reduces risks that could impact security. BYOD policies can require employees to use only the company’s devices to connect to the corporate network.

To ensure that it is current, a BYOD policy needs to be regularly updated. A cybersecurity checklist should include a BYOD policy. This will allow employees to use their personal devices safely, protecting the organization from multiple threats.

7. Privacy and encryption

Cyber adversaries sometimes manage to get around the most secure networks. Organizations aren’t guaranteed their classified and personal data is secure 100% of the time. In all instances where data is exchanged between users and organizations, encryption and privacy policies should be required. Users should be required to encrypt all data at rest and in transit according to the encryption policy. If cyber attackers manage to break the cyber defenses, encryption provides additional security to encrypted data. To ensure that everyone uses the same standard encryption techniques, the policy should also include the preferred encryption method. Because encryption is the most effective method to protect data integrity, confidentiality and availability, it should be part of all cybersecurity programs and checklists.

8. Policy for disaster recovery

As stated previously, even the most advanced security solutions won’t guarantee an organization’s complete security. Businesses should have effective disaster recovery plans in place to prevent a cyber-attack. An effective disaster recovery policy outlines the actions that each user should take to recover from an attack. Effective disaster recovery policies are a key component of a company’s ability to respond to an attack. A business can also assign its employees roles to help ensure the rapid recovery of important data, networks and computer systems. Further, the policy addresses communication channels to ensure seamless communication between all parties during a disaster recovery. All cybersecurity checklists should include a disaster recovery policy.

9. Software that is current and up-to-date

Each business should include the use of current software programs in their cybersecurity checklist. It is essential to have the most up-to-date software in order to improve security. Modern software programs are designed to withstand current threats and attacks. There are many security issues that can be introduced by using legacy software or operating systems. They could be vulnerable to unpatched vulnerabilities or they might not have been supported by their vendors in the release of security patches and updates. Even though software is currently in use, it does not mean it is secure. Hackers have a lot of opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities that are constantly changing. A cybersecurity checklist should contain a patch management program. Hardware and software vendors regularly release security patches to address vulnerabilities. Applying security patches regularly can help to protect your organization against cyber-attacks.

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10. Regular employee training

Cyber incidents account for more than 90% of all cyber incidents. Data breaches can be caused by employees leaving their computers unlocked. All organizations should include cybersecurity awareness and training campaigns. Employees are equipped with the skills to securely use organizational systems, data, networks, and other information. Training and awareness help them do this. They are also able to identify security risks and manage them.

Employee training programs should be designed to teach employees how to protect their computers, email accounts, cloud accounts, and other information systems. Employees should be able to identify phishing emails, and what actions they should take once they are identified. These measures include marking the sender’s email address spam, reporting IT and alerting others about the attempted phishing attacks. When developing a training and awareness program, there are many other items that should be considered. These items should be considered to meet security requirements of a company.

Security measures for users

The practical cybersecurity checklist should include measures specific to system and network users. These standards will ensure that the organization is protected when a user has access to its IT assets. A cybersecurity checklist should include the following items. This is done to ensure that user behavior does not affect organizational cybersecurity.

11. Password etiquette

The best password management practices are part of password etiquette. Users must use password management best practices as passwords are the most important defense at all levels. Users must always use strong passwords to protect their passwords. You should consider combining numbers, alphabetical letters, special symbols, and other characters. This is done to reduce the chance of hackers guessing passwords.

A business should also require its users to create long passwords. Security can be provided by passwords between 6 and 10 characters. Users should also make sure to regularly change and update passwords. Rogue colleges might gain access to passwords stored and make use of them to commit identity theft or other criminal activities. Passphrases are a good way to ensure complex passwords. Passphrases are strings of words that can be used to gain access to a system. This and other password requirements should all be part of a cybersecurity checklist.

12. Auditing disabled accounts

There are many reasons why work accounts, such as email or cloud accounts, can be disabled. This could be due to employees being assigned to new roles or responsibilities, or an employee quitting their job. A system administrator can audit disabled accounts to find accounts that are no more in use. Security risks arise from disabled accounts. Malicious actors can gain access to them and all privileges. They can also gain system and data access by posing as legitimate users. Auditing all accounts that are no longer being used ensures that they are closed and deleted. Auditing obsolete accounts or those that are disabled in the cybersecurity checklist allows a company close any loopholes that could allow adversaries unauthorised access to protected systems and information.

13. Shared passwords and accounts should be prevented

Any cybersecurity program or checklist should make it a priority to prevent users from sharing passwords or working accounts. Sharing passwords and work accounts can pose a serious security risk. If a shared account is involved, it may be difficult to track the person responsible for security incidents. Allowing employees to share passwords and accounts encourages insider threats. Employees who participate in malicious activities may deny any allegations, noting that they aren’t the only ones who have access to the account. A cybersecurity checklist should include the prevention of shared passwords or accounts. This will ensure that all accounts are audited. Consequently, insider threats can also be reduced, which leads to enhanced cybersecurity.

14. Use secure websites

A cybersecurity checklist should include a mandatory requirement that secure websites be used when they are connected to the organization’s network. Each business should insist that employees only share information about the organization or sensitive data, such as passwords, through secure websites. Secure websites have an https connection which indicates that the connection has been encrypted. Secure data and information can be transferred over encrypted connections, which are vital for protecting confidentiality and integrity. A cybersecurity checklist should include the use of encrypted and secure websites. This will allow companies to prevent users from accessing unsecure sites. This prevents cyber incidents that may arise from information being compromised via vulnerable websites. These sites are connected via http and lack the encryption schemes required.

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Email security

Nearly all communication is done through email. However, email communication poses the greatest risk because they are a preferred method for delivering malware and viruseses to most cyber-criminals. An organization should include email security on its cybersecurity checklist. Here are some points to remember when it comes to email security.

15. Filtering tools

Email communication is one of the most popular platforms for carrying out phishing attacks or delivering malware. Phishing is where cyber attackers target multiple users using messages that appeal to their interests. To trick users into downloading hidden malware, they send them links or attachments. Businesses need tools to filter all incoming messages in order to ensure that these malware programs are not downloaded by users. They can detect embedded malware in messages and block them from reaching company networks and computer systems.

16. Email policy

A cybersecurity checklist should include the development and regular updating of an email policy. Even though email security is typically the responsibility of email service providers, it’s possible to hack emails without knowing about it. An email policy document can be used to identify the information users are allowed or forbidden from sharing via emails. An email policy could prevent users sharing financial information, passwords, and personal data through emails.

Site security

Websites are used by businesses to market their products and services. Customers can also contact them via email to ask questions or provide feedback. Some companies may collect personal information from clients through their websites. Therefore, website security should be a key item on a cybersecurity checklist. To ensure the best website security, there are two key points.

17. SSL Certification

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), certification is required for all companies. SSL certification means that the website is secure and provides encryption between clients and servers. SSL certification allows users to transmit sensitive information confidently without worrying about it being intercepted or modified by others. A website that is SSL certified can be accessed by users and allows them to securely request or send information. It also helps build a company’s reputation. SSL certificates increase customer confidence and customers prefer to submit their data through secure sites. It is therefore important to include SSL certification on a cybersecurity checklist.

18. Provider of secure web hosting

A company should only hire a reliable web hosting provider. A cybersecurity checklist should include the following key characteristics: the provider’s ability and ability to isolate hosting accounts; the mechanism for backing up the website regularly; and the ability of the server logs to be maintained.

Network security

Every business must ensure network security. To gain unauthorized access, cyber adversaries will always be looking for network vulnerabilities. To ensure maximum website security, a cybersecurity checklist should include the following items.

19. Powerful firewalls

Strong firewalls should be used to secure a network. Multiple firewalls can be combined to increase network security. A firewall can be used to protect networks. It allows for the creation of filtering rules that are consistent with security requirements. These rules are used to filter out malicious connections that could compromise the security of the network.

20. Password protection

Password security is essential to ensure that only authorized users can connect to the network. To ensure that only employees have access to internal networks, a business should implement password security on its Wi-Fi routers. A separate Wi-Fi network should be provided to guests by a business in order to reduce the chance of malicious users accessing the corporate network.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.

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