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The Essential Eight: Protecting your business in the cyberspace

October 14, 2021

Essential eight

For many businesses these days, the vast majority of their work comes via the internet. Ordering products, interacting with suppliers and customers, communicating with co-workers, and especially running a business in these uncertain and unprecedented times, companies now more than ever are increasingly reliant on the internet. But of course, with the internet comes a myriad of risks, in terms of data and operating. So how can a business be sure that their reliance on the internet is not taken advantage of? How can they make certain that all data is kept safe and secure, putting customers minds at ease? Well, if they have Microsoft Windows-based internet-connected networks, IT&T can help, by assisting in the implementation of the Essential eight, a prioritised mitigation strategy developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

While not primarily made for these, the Essential Eight can also be applied to cloud services and enterprise mobility, as well as other operating systems. This mitigation strategy can be implemented to help your business to protect itself against a large array of cyber threats. The strategy is implemented using a risk-based approach, and is split into a number of various maturity levels; the idea being that businesses complete all eight steps to satisfy a maturity level, before moving up to the next. The Essential Eight represents the minimal amount of cyber security necessary for a business, and as a result the ACSC also recommends that businesses implement additional services to further mitigate any and all cyber threats that businesses face. The maturity levels are essential in ensuring that the Essential Eight is applied in a consistent, and therefore effective manner to most effectively protect your business from cyber security threats.

There are three maturity levels: level zero, level one, level two, and level three. The maturity levels can be an incredibly helpful way for businesses to gauge the likelihood of their being targeted by cyber security attacks, combined with the importance of the data held by the business, and the level of protection that the data has. It is also worth noting that while incredibly helpful, the Essential Eight is not a perfect service, and as a result cannot completely guarantee protection against cyber security breaches, but it does severely decrease the risk. But if time, money and resources are used, breaches do remain a possibility.

The first maturity level is level zero, which establishes a baseline of cyber safety mitigation, and shows that there are weaknesses in a businesses approach. These weaknesses can be sources of a potential breach, compromising businesses data. Level one is a basic level of protection, providing protections against general adversaries that are looking to breach any system, not necessarily targeting specific businesses. Level two takes the same basic components as level one, but steps them up in magnitude, focusing on threats that have more time and energy put behind them, as well as potentially a more targeted approach. They may also target accounts with special privileges, and may destroy data relating to these accounts. Finally, level three, which focuses on threats that are highly targeted and are able to exploit weaknesses in programming and defence. These threats are specifically interested in targeted attacks and have both the time and energy to completely commit, meaning that cyber safety defences must be absolutely top-notch in order to keep businesses safe.

The Essential Eight is an absolutely necessary means for any cyber-related businesses to completely protect their interests, and IT&T is thrilled to be able to help any business implement the strategy.

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