The Essential Eight
While it may sound a little boring, and it may never be required, the ‘Essential Eight’ is something that needs to be on every business’ radar.
In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and frequent. Organizations are at constant risk of losing critical data or being disrupted by cyber attacks. To mitigate these risks, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has developed a framework called the Essential Eight. This framework provides a set of mitigation strategies that organizations can implement to improve their cyber resilience and protect themselves from cyber attacks.
The Essential Eight is a comprehensive set of cybersecurity controls that the ACSC has identified as essential for protecting against a range of cyber threats. The framework is designed to be flexible and scalable, allowing organizations of all sizes and types to adopt it. The eight strategies are as follows:
- Application whitelisting: This strategy involves creating a list of approved applications that are allowed to run on an organization’s systems. It prevents unauthorized or malicious software from running on the network.
- Patching applications: This strategy involves ensuring that all software applications are up to date with the latest security patches. It reduces the risk of cyber attacks exploiting known vulnerabilities in outdated software.
- Configuring Microsoft Office macros: This strategy involves disabling or limiting the use of Microsoft Office macros. Macros are a common tool used by cybercriminals to deliver malware, so disabling them can reduce the risk of infection.
- User application hardening: This strategy involves configuring web browsers and other user applications to limit their capabilities and reduce their attack surface.
- Restricting administrative privileges: This strategy involves limiting the number of users who have administrative privileges on an organization’s systems. It reduces the risk of a cyber attack being able to compromise critical systems or steal sensitive data.
- Patching operating systems: This strategy involves ensuring that all operating systems are up to date with the latest security patches. It reduces the risk of cyber attacks exploiting known vulnerabilities in outdated operating systems.
- Multi-factor authentication: This strategy involves requiring users to provide additional authentication factors, such as a code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their username and password. It reduces the risk of unauthorized access to critical systems.
- Daily backups: This strategy involves regularly backing up critical data to ensure that it can be restored in the event of a cyber attack or data loss. It reduces the risk of data loss and disruption to business operations.
By implementing the Essential Eight, organisations can significantly improve their cyber resilience and reduce the risk of cyber attacks. The framework provides a set of practical and effective strategies that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each organization.
In addition to the Essential Eight, the ACSC also provides guidance on how to implement each strategy, as well as advice on how to monitor and maintain the effectiveness of the controls. The ACSC recommends that organisations regularly review their cybersecurity posture and make adjustments as needed to ensure that they remain protected against the latest cyber threats.
The Essential Eight is a vital framework for organizations looking to improve their cybersecurity resilience. By implementing these eight strategies, organizations can significantly reduce their risk of cyber attacks and protect themselves against a range of threats. The ACSC provides comprehensive guidance on how to implement the strategies, making it a practical and effective framework for organizations of all sizes and types.
At Technicalities, we are very familiar with the Essential Eight and the tools that can be put in place to best manage any number or all of these recommendations.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat, or an audit to determine the best course of action.