Importance of Cyber Hygiene in Financial sectors

  • Published On: December 15, 2021 Updated On: February 03, 2023


  • Introduction
  • Cybersecurity Audit vs Cyber Hygiene
  • Benefits of Cyber Hygiene
  • Cyber Health Evaluation
  • Cyber Threat in Financial Services
  • Best Practice for Cyber Hygiene
  • Conclusion


The Center for Internet Security (CIS) and the Council on Cyber Security (CCS) defines cyber hygiene as a means to appropriately protect and maintain IT systems and devices and implement cyber security best practices. The term "cyber hygiene" refers to security activities that safeguard your firm from cyber-attacks. These security procedures are designed to keep hackers and other hostile actors from accessing the computer network and obtaining critical information such as client information. These procedures are frequently followed as part of a routine to protect one's identity and other personal information from being stolen or tampered with. Cyber hygiene, like physical hygiene, is conducted on a daily basis to protect against natural deterioration and common dangers.

Cybersecurity Audit vs Cyber Hygiene

A cyber security audit is a one-day consulting service that provides a high-level cyber evaluation of a company's IT infrastructure. It identifies important cyber-threat areas.

A cyber health check, on the other hand, is more comprehensive. A cyber health check includes vulnerability scans of critical external infrastructure IP and website addresses, as well as an online staff questionnaire that determines employees' actual security practices, in addition to the audit and technical cyber security controls included in the cyber security audit service.

A cyber security audit is a snapshot of an organization's IT security posture at a certain point in time. A cyber health check, on the other hand, digs deeper and examines the policies and practices that have contributed to the current state of IT security. In this sense, a cyber health check is mainly concerned with the security processes that explain how people and technology interact to see if it contributes to or hinders overall cyber security.

Benefits of Cyber Hygiene

When you take steps to improve your cyber hygiene, you will gain numerous benefits. Apart from the fact that there will be fewer chances of hackers entering into devices and networks since security holes will be filled, you will also be able to:

  • Look for unmanaged assets.
  • Customer information will be kept safe.
  • Find and repair any admin rights that are no longer in use (e.g., from team members who are no longer working for the company)
  • Locate any unlicensed software on your computers.
  • Compliance audits will be easier to conduct.

Cyberhealth Evaluation

A cyber health evaluation is critical for laying a strong foundation for your security infrastructure. A cyber health check can assist you in identifying your weakest security areas and recommending relevant risk mitigation strategies. Vulnerability scans of crucial external infrastructure IPs and websites/URLs are included in the package. A cyber health check aids in the creation of a secure infrastructure, which is required by regulatory initiatives and compliance standards like ISO 27001, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Cyber Essentials, and others.

Cyberthreat in Financial Services

Due to the significance of the information stored on their systems, financial services organisations have long been a target for hackers. However, as the industry's digital innovation expanded, there has been an upsurge in attacks in recent years.While implementing digital solutions helps banks satisfy customer requests, it also expands their attack surface, allowing cybercriminals to exploit new access points. Many financial institutions are now unable to securely secure key data such as credit card information, banking statements, and client social security numbers because legacy systems are no longer capable of combating today's sophisticated cyber threats. 

Best Practice for Cyber Hygiene

Boosting your cybersecurity hygiene can help you monitor the performance of your cybersecurity solutions more efficiently, in addition to improving the accuracy and efficiency of threat detection.

The following are the best practices for improving cybersecurity hygiene in the financial sector of your business:

Data protection

For financial institutions, data security is crucial. As the volume of data handled by businesses grows as a result of internet banking, they must be able to assure its security. Data classification is advised because it aids firms in prioritising risk mitigation measures based on current concerns. Data classification by kind, value, and sensitivity can be used to analyse your compliance with regulatory obligations as well as advise the security controls you deploy.

Keep an eye on the risk posed by other parties

If you work with third-party providers, you must keep an eye on their security as if it were your own. Conducting third-party risk assessments aids in the detection of security flaws in vendors. Vendor risk assessments can be compared to your company's risk appetite and tolerance statements to assist you to classify vendors depending on the threat they pose to your business. You can then take the necessary steps to mitigate any risks that have been identified. To streamline this process and ensure continuous vendor compliance, define a set of internal responsibilities for vendor monitoring.

Maximize use of cybersecurity information

Organizations can utilise cybersecurity data to better understand previous and future assaults with the help of cybersecurity data. Security data insights provide context for your network vulnerabilities, allowing you to stay one step ahead of threat actors. With the cyber threat landscape rapidly evolving, having access to data is crucial because it helps businesses to adopt a proactive approach to security.

Third-party risk management can benefit from cybersecurity data since it gives enterprises a complete view of their vendor environment. The increased visibility enables enterprises to design more complete vendor questionnaires, allowing them to align replies with their strategic objectives.

Anti-Malware Software and Host Based Firewalls

Install anti-malware software and make sure the signatures are updated on a regular basis. Anti-Malware software is a critical safeguard for detecting, quarantining, and removing different sorts of malware.

Regular Software Updates

One of the most effective ways to strengthen one's overall cybersecurity posture is to run software upgrades on a regular basis. Operating systems, firmware, patches, and security fixes are all examples of software upgrades. Today's software will check for new updates automatically.

Use of Multi-Factor Authentication

When possible, users are highly urged to use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA adds an extra layer of security to your existing username and password combination. To properly log in with MFA, you'll need a second factor, such as your smartphone. This makes it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your account because they will need both your password and the second factor to succeed.

Use of strong passwords

Passwords that have been hacked or revealed: If your password has ever been compromised or disclosed in a data breach, you should never use it again.

Unauthorized access can be prevented with the use of strong passwords. The following are some of the best practices:

Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

Passwords must be between 8 and 32 characters long and contain at least one uppercase, one lowercase, one numeric, and one special character.

If multi-factor authentication is not available

Passwords must be 14-32 characters long, contain one uppercase character, one lowercase character, one number, and one special character, and expire in less than 365 days. If your password has been compromised or disclosed, you must change it right away.
Devices that are unable to satisfy these best practises (e.g. Multi-Function Devices, Network Devices, Legacy Systems, etc.) should have password settings at the highest level of difficulty allowed by the system.

Encryption in use

Data can be found on a variety of devices, including desktops, laptops, and removable storage media (USB drives, external hard drives, and CD/DVDs). If the information is considered sensitive, further caution is required. Encryption is one of the most effective ways to protect sensitive data.

Limited use of Administrative accounts

Administrative accounts are privileged accounts that can do things that a regular user account can't. Installing software, disabling anti-malware software, adding and removing user accounts, and stopping/starting services are all examples of privileged actions.

If a non-privileged account is hacked, the amount of harm done is almost certainly going to be minimal. For typical day-to-day activities such as surfing the internet and email, it is advised that you utilise a non-privileged user account. You log in using a privileged account to execute tasks like installing or deleting software and then log out when you're through.


Organizations must strengthen their cybersecurity hygiene as the number of cyber incidents in the financial services sector rises.For today's businesses, developing thorough cyber hygiene measures is essential. Good cyber hygiene activities help modern firms maintain a sound security posture when used in conjunction with robust, enterprise-wide security processes.

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