Prioritizing security measures is the first step toward accomplishing them, and the SANS Institute has created a list of the top 20 critical security controls businesses should implement.
They include some obvious steps, such as getting a comprehensive inventory of all network devices and software, implementing secure hardware configurations and providing for data recovery, but also gets into areas that are less evident.
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Some of these items can be costly and include regularly scheduled assessments – penetration testing and red-team assessments, for example - so they require funding through annual security operating budgets.
Even if an organization can’t handle all 20, it’s a good list to include in a comprehensive set of goals that gets updated periodically as the threat landscape changes.
SANS offers a course on this, but here’s the list with links to recommended implementation steps:
1: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Devices
2: Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Software
3: Secure Configurations for Hardware and Software on Mobile Devices, Laptops, Workstations, and Servers
4: Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation
5: Malware Defenses
6: Application Software Security
7: Wireless Access Control
8: Data Recovery Capability
9: Security Skills Assessment and Appropriate Training to Fill Gaps
10: Secure Configurations for Network Devices such as Firewalls, Routers, and Switches
11: Limitation and Control of Network Ports, Protocols, and Services
12: Controlled Use of Administrative Privileges
13: Boundary Defense
14: Maintenance, Monitoring, and Analysis of Audit Logs
15: Controlled Access Based on the Need to Know
16: Account Monitoring and Control
17: Data Protection
18: Incident Response and Management
19: Secure Network Engineering
20: Penetration Tests and Red Team Exercises
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