Leadership Brief

Cyber Hygiene: The Foundation for Cyber Resilience

Most cyber incidents result from poor cyber hygiene. To avoid these, organizations must make sure that all the routine tasks needed to keep their systems, data, and applications safe are performed regularly and completely. This means creating a culture where everyone across the organization takes care of their responsibilities for cyber hygiene. Maintaining good cyber hygiene is a continuous process and the cyber security routines must include checkpoints that are regularly monitored and reviewed. All these mundane tasks are the essential foundation of for cyber resilience.

Mike Small


1 Executive Summary

Without attention to the many mundane tasks even the most up to date office or workplace would soon become unsafe. The trash must be emptied, the floors vacuumed, the HVAC sanitized, the kitchens cleaned, the conference rooms tidied, and a myriad of small but important jobs repeated every day. This is often referred to as workplace hygiene. In just the same way cyber hygiene is a set of routines that may appear mundane, but which are essential to ensure the security of an organization's systems and data. It is the foundation upon which the organization's cyber resilience is built.

There is often a focus in cyber security on the most exotic threats and the most advanced tools and techniques. However, surveys repeatedly show that most cyber incidents and data breaches exploit well known exposures v that could easily have been removed. Good cyber hygiene is an approach to reduce cyber exposures through paying close attention to the many basic cyber security tasks.

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