The security of its IT environment needs to be a major focus for all organizations as we move into 2024. The threat landscape is becoming increasingly dangerous with sophisticated threat actors targeting valuable data resources across virtually all industries. Additional risks may come from the deliberate or accidental actions of unintentional or malicious insiders.

Unfortunately, there is no single silver-bullet solution to cybersecurity. A comprehensive approach to cybersecurity is necessary to provide effective protection.

Essential Security Features and Initiatives Your Company Needs

Let’s look at some of the most important security features, products, and initiatives your company can implement or optimize to protect itself in 2024. These items are meant to enhance the security of your IT environment and protect your business.

Identify and classify all IT Assets

You can’t effectively protect your data if you don’t know where it is located. Visibility into the complete digital estate is a necessary and preliminary step that will influence many subsequent security decisions. Achieving this visibility can be complicated by the use of hybrid or multi-cloud environments.

Once all IT assets have been identified they should be classified according to their sensitivity and business value. Classification enables an organization to expand resources efficiently when protecting systems and data. Not all items require the same level of protection. Concentrating on securing the most important assets typically provides enhanced protection and helps control overspending on cybersecurity.

Deploy a robust backup solution

Backup may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering IT security, but the argument can be made that it is one of the most essential precautions you can take. If any of your cybersecurity defenses fail or are compromised, you will need backups to recover critical systems and maintain business operations. The backup solution should address the complete infrastructure with a focus on protecting the organization’s most valuable and sensitive data resources.

Cloud backup solutions eliminate the need to build a dedicated backup infrastructure and offer enhanced flexibility by enabling recovery to any location over the Internet. Offerings such as cloud backup-as-a-service (CBaaS) make it easy for companies of any size to efficiently protect their data.

Employ the 3-2-1-rule

It is recommended that businesses follow the 3-2-1 rule to protect their data. The rule requires a company to have at least three copies of its valuable data using at least two different types of storage media. An additional copy of the information should be stored in an offsite facility for increased resiliency.

Utilizing a cloud backup solution guarantees that at least one copy of your data is located offsite. Cloud backups can be recovered to any location with an internet connection for increased resiliency. They also eliminate many of the media storage management issues that can complicate on-premises backup platforms.

Develop and test a comprehensive disaster recovery plan

Organizations need to be prepared to recover business-critical systems and data resources in the wake of a natural or man-made disaster. This requires the creation of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that addresses business requirements. It can be challenging to identify all critical business components in complex multi-cloud environments.

Typically, organizations utilize their backup solution as the foundation for disaster recovery. Here again, the use of a cloud backup platform provides the flexibility to recover systems to alternate locations that are not impacted by the disaster. Companies must ensure that the disaster recovery plan will work when needed. The plan should be regularly tested and modified to reflect changes to the IT environment.

Strengthen network security

Strengthening network security to restrict unauthorized access to IT resources is a critical cybersecurity initiative that should be undertaken by all organizations. Keeping threat actors out of the environment is more effective than dealing with them after they have breached network security. Defending against the continuous evolution of cyber threats requires more than traditional firewalls.

Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) should be implemented to provide the enhanced security demanded by today’s threat landscape. An NGFW offers users advanced functionality that includes deep-packet inspection that interrogates the data contained in packets. They also add features such as application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and the capacity to take action based on information supplied by threat intelligence services.

Implement strong access management policies

Strong access management policies are essential for protecting IT resources from external and internal threats. Companies should strongly consider some variation of the zero-trust principle when devising these policies. Zero-trust states that every activity needs to be authorized and all users authenticated continuously while interacting with the IT environment.

A zero-trust approach can be instrumental in protecting against internal threat actors attempting to leverage elevated privileges for which they are not authorized. All data and system access should be predicated on business requirements. Multi-factor authentication should also be employed to minimize the chances that compromised credentials may result in data loss.

Emphasize cybersecurity training

Cybersecurity training should be emphasized throughout the organization. Everyone needs to understand how to avoid falling victim to the latest types of phishing campaigns and putting valuable resources at risk. Training should be an ongoing activity with materials updated regularly to address new methods and techniques threat actors employ to compromise an IT environment.

Integrate artificial intelligence functionality into cybersecurity solutions

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has matured and is being used by threat actors and in cybersecurity solutions designed to thwart them. Tools such as extended detection and response (XDR) platforms employ AI and machine learning (ML) to identify lateral movements throughout the environment that often indicate the presence of advanced persistence threats. These tools alert security personnel to potential threats before they can launch their attacks.

Let VAST Help Secure Your IT Environment

VAST offers its customers a wide array of cybersecurity products and services designed to secure their IT environments. Our team of experts can perform a detailed assessment to help you identify security lapses that lead to vulnerabilities and put your business at risk. We will work with you to develop a path forward that employs cutting-edge technology to keep your IT resources and business secure.

Give us a call and start enhancing your cybersecurity posture by eliminating the vulnerabilities that threaten your business.