Spy Agency Advice for Everyone: The Australian Signals Directorate Essential 8

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Focused on the needs and security risks that Australian businesses face, the Essential 8 Strategies, also known as ASD8, are a list of comprehensive strategies with the common goal of mitigating the most common cyber security threats.

This list was created by the Australian Government as a means of educating and assisting Australian businesses about cyber threats and security risks that their businesses may pose.

Although the categories may seem quite straightforward, they exist with the goal of helping companies determine where they stand in regards to their cyber security. All 8 signals exist to create a progressive plan that will eventually lead the business to reach a fully aligned security strategy.

However, not everything is about the 8 signals. Before implementing the signals, Australian businesses must be aware of 5 key challenges that they may encounter while implementing the 8 signals. Here are those 5 challenges as presented by the Australian Signals Directorate. 

1. Determine the Maturity of Your Business

Before moving forward, you must determine the current maturity status of your business and see how your company can improve. In order to eventually reach the best possible maturity level, this strategy suggests three maturity levels defined as the following:

Maturity Level One: partly aligned with intent of mitigation strategy.
Maturity Level Two: mostly aligned with intent of mitigation strategy.
Maturity Level Three: fully aligned with intent of mitigation strategy.

2. Time and Cost

In order to optimise any cyber security investments you make it is important to have a thorough security plan.

Security improvements are not simple adjustments that can be done by updating your antivirus, they require expert advice and knowledge that can only be done by professionals.

However, before starting to invest into a security improvement, be sure to have a plan ready that not only expresses procedures, but also your concerns as a business owner.

3. Market Noise

It can be overwhelming to find the right business security company that suits your needs and budget, especially with so much competition in the industry.

No matter how many cyber security companies you find online, make sure you only hire one after you have done thorough research on their services and expertise.

4. Past Security Experiences

Most companies that don’t have an IT team commonly think that nearly any cyber threat can be stopped by using a good antivirus. However, this is hardly the case. Using the wrong tool sets to maintain the security of your business at hand is not acceptable for a thriving company in today’s world.

You must remember that these cyber threats not only target your and your business’ information, but also your clients’, which would cause a big stir-up for any company if allowed to happen or not handled properly.

5. Whitelisting and Patching

Whitelisting and Patching are the most difficult of all strategies to implement and keep up. Patching, for example, requires constant updates and changes that correct bugs and security breaches.

Occasionally, patching can also lead to the disruption of service, but nonetheless, it is a necessary evil! Whitelisting is the practice of adding a list of approved websites and applications that can be used or accessed through a device. This is the reason why some employees cannot access specific websites or social media sites; it’s because those websites have not been whitelisted. 

With these five challenges that businesses face being identified correctly, Australian businesses have a better chance of implementing the ASD Essential 8 and reaching the goal of mitigating cyber security risks.

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