As businesses increasingly rely on digital applications to process data and move their operations forward, they need to make sure that they are secure from malicious entities. Cyber security is a major concern for Australian businesses of all sizes – as seen in the recent Optus data breach, cybercrime can affect any organisation.
User application hardening is a simple, but effective, technique that can help protect your business and keep your data safe. It involves a set of processes to help identify and secure any vulnerabilities in the applications you use.
What is the ASCS Essential Eight?
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) developed the Essential Eight as mitigation strategies organisations should implement in order to reduce the likelihood of cyber-attacks. While not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that all Australian businesses deploy these strategies as a baseline of their cyber security posture.
The eight strategies cover three areas – prevention, limitation, and recovery – and are ranked on four levels of maturity, from Level 0, which signifies weaknesses in the organisation’s overall cyber security posture, to Level 3, which focuses on mitigating adversaries that are skilled in exploiting their target’s weaknesses.
The Essential Eight mitigation strategies are:
What is user application hardening?
User application hardening secures the applications you use. It’s a process of analysing and understanding the applications, pinpointing vulnerabilities, and taking steps to reduce the risk of attack. This could involve testing the code for any security flaws, using security protocols to protect the system from malicious activity, implementing an authentication system, or locking down features in the app that do not enhance security.
User application hardening is a necessary step for any business that wants to ensure their applications are safe and secure. Not only does it help protect against malicious attacks, but it also helps to protect the users’ data and privacy.
It is also particularly important when you’re using software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. SaaS applications often store sensitive data and provide access to critical business functions, which means they must be secured.
Benefits of user application hardening
There are many benefits to hardening your applications, including:
Improved security: Hardening your applications helps reduce the risk of cyber-attacks, protecting your business and its data from malicious actors.
Application continuity: If one of your application experiences a cyber-attack and is shut down, user application hardening helps ensure that your business can still operate.
Reduced costs: Securing your applications can help reduce the cost of managing your business. It can also help reduce the cost of data breach by lowering the likelihood of it happening.
How to implement user application hardening
Deploying application hardening can be an intimidating process, but with the right steps it can become much easier. The first step is to identify potential attack surfaces, such as open ports or unnecessary services. Then, you can use tools like firewalls and security policies to limit access to those surfaces.
The next step is to isolate critical components by using sandboxes or containers. This will help limit the damage that can be done in the event of a breach.
Finally, you should make sure your users are educated on security practices and policies. This will ensure they understand the importance of security and the risks associated with it.
Deploy application hardening with expert assistance
Implementing the ASCS’s Essential Eight mitigation strategies will strengthen your cyber security posture. User application hardening is a key component, and should not be overlooked.
The cyber security specialists at Itopia are experienced with the Essential Eight, and can audit your business, help you apply the strategies, and manage your security environment for maximum effectiveness.