Computer hygiene is a security best practice that ensures digital assets in an organization’s environment are secure and functioning properly. Good IT hygiene includes vulnerability management, security configuration assessments, maintaining asset and system inventories, and complete visibility into the activities taking place in an environment.
As technology advances and the tools used by cybercriminals and cybersecurity professionals evolve, the strategies used to carry out cyberattacks differ in their complexity and uniqueness. Threat actors continually target organizations that practice poor IT hygiene to exploit known security weaknesses and human error. Security administrators can defend against cyberattacks by implementing good Computer hygiene practices like whitelisting programs, keeping systems up-to-date, and more.
Gaining complete visibility of IT assets is critical to developing an effective security strategy. The emergence of shadow computing, such as assets, software, or user accounts, can create a blind spot that threat actors can use as an attack vector. IT hygiene practices address the issue of visibility, ensuring that IT assets are adequately protected, thereby reducing the attack surface.
Common problems faced by organizations that practice poor IT hygiene
The following are some of the problems organizations face as a result of poor IT hygiene:
- Exposure to security breaches. They are costly and damaging to the reputation of companies and organizations. . Threat actors can take advantage of a lack of adequate security controls, such as poor configuration management, to compromise an organization’s security.
- Vulnerability to the loss of critical data in a cyber attack or other disaster due to lack of backup. This could affect the availability of information systems that affect the organization’s operations.
- Hidden malicious activities due to lack of visibility into critical endpoint processes and operating system information. Threat actors can exploit legitimate processes to execute malicious activities without being detected.
- Vulnerability to attacks due to outdated applications, operating systems and hardware.
- Incomplete protection and security. Organizations using security solutions that do not offer comprehensive monitoring and response capabilities are at greater risk of exposure and cyber-attacks.
Why is computer hygiene important?
IT hygiene is critical to maintaining the security and resilience of an organization’s IT infrastructure. By adhering to good IT hygiene practices, organizations can ensure the protection, performance and reliability of their IT infrastructure while meeting regulatory requirements and minimizing costs. Computer hygiene is important in the following ways.
First, organizations can significantly improve their security posture by practicing good IT hygiene through comprehensive vulnerability and patch management. This practice ensures that endpoints and applications are protected from malicious attacks.
Additionally, by maintaining good IT hygiene, organizations can effectively reduce their attack surface as they have greater visibility of all their IT assets.
Finally, adherence to IT hygiene best practices helps meet regulatory requirements and industry standards and save costs. Proactive monitoring and response can help organizations avoid legal penalties and financial and reputational damage from data breaches and cyber attacks.
How Wazuh helps improve computer hygiene
Wazuh is a free and open source security platform that provides unified XDR and SIEM capabilities. It helps provide security for cloud workloads and on-premises environments. It provides a centralized view to monitor, detect and alert security events across monitored endpoints and cloud workloads.
This section highlights several Wazuh capabilities vital to keeping your network clean and secure.
1 — System inventory: IT hygiene begins with real-time visibility of an environment’s digital assets and the events that occur within them. Real-time visibility includes an up-to-date asset and system inventory. It involves instantly identifying risks, vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in these assets. The Wazuh System Inventory The capability collects relevant information such as hardware, operating systems, ports, packages, Windows updates, and network interfaces on monitored endpoints. This information is crucial to developing an effective IT hygiene practice that improves an organization’s overall security posture. For example, system inventory data contains a list of open ports on endpoints that can help security administrators identify and close unnecessary ports, thereby reducing the attack surface.
|Figure 1: Wazuh dashboard showing inventory data for a monitored endpoint.|
2 — Security Configuration Assessment (SCA): This involves performing a thorough analysis of security issues on monitored endpoints. It relies on compliance standards to improve security posture. IT hygiene best practices require security administrators to periodically perform configuration assessments to identify and correct vulnerabilities and misconfigurations on endpoints. Security configuration assessments and endpoint hardening effectively reduce an organization’s attack surface.
The Wazuh SCA The capability evaluates system configurations and triggers alerts when those configurations do not comply with secure system policies. Depending on the industry, IT hygiene ensures that endpoints meet HIPAA compliance standards, PCI DSS, NIST 800-53, and CIS benchmarks.
|Figure 2: Wazuh dashboard showing the SCA report for a monitored endpoint.|
3 — Vulnerability management: This is a proactive and continuous process of identifying, prioritizing and remediating endpoint vulnerabilities. The vulnerability management process is crucial to maintaining IT hygiene. The Wazuh Vulnerability detector The capability allows you to discover security vulnerabilities in the operating system and applications installed on monitored endpoints. Security administrators can take the necessary actions to remediate vulnerabilities and improve computer hygiene.
|Figure 3: Wazuh dashboard showing the vulnerability report of a monitored endpoint.|
4 — Expanded threat detection and automated response: This can help with IT hygiene by continuously monitoring and analyzing endpoint activities across an organization’s environment. This continuous monitoring ensures proactive detection and response to threats or malicious activity. With an XDR/SIEM solution, security teams can quickly identify and isolate infected endpoints, preventing the spread of malware across their enterprise network. Wazuh helps organizations monitor and protect their IT infrastructure by providing comprehensive threat detection and automated response capabilities for endpoints. It helps improve an organization’s IT hygiene practices by providing continuous monitoring, malware detectionincident response and compliance capabilities.
In today’s ever-changing threat landscape, creating a good computer hygiene routine is essential to prevent cybercriminals from causing security breaches. By leveraging Wazuh’s capabilities, organizations can proactively detect and respond to security threats and maintain a strong cybersecurity posture.
Wazuh is a free and open source SIEM and XDR solution that provides end-to-end security for organizations. Wazuh improves an organization’s IT hygiene by using various capabilities to alert administrators of vulnerabilities, suggest remediation steps, and respond to threats.
Wazuh has more than 20 million downloads annually and supports users extensively through an ever-growing open source community.
At Ikaroa, we know that good IT hygiene is critical for a robust cybersecurity resilience. Therefore, catching issues early can be critical to protect organizations from cyber attacks. Wazuh, an open-source security monitoring solution, helps to do just that by identifying potential security issues and alerting the organization so that preventative measures can be taken. It can also provide insight into the current security posture of an organization.
Wazuh provides a variety of functions related to IT hygiene. It offers logging for a vast array of operating systems, including Windows, Linux and MacOS. It also provides file integrity monitoring, which helps detect malicious changes to system files. Additionally, it has a form of intrusion detection system, which monitors an organization’s network traffic to detect malicious activities.
One of the key benefits of Wazuh is that it is a lightweight solution, meaning it has relatively low system requirements. This makes it easier and more cost-effective to scale with an organization’s needs. Additionally, the Wazuh dashboard provides an easy-to-read visualization of the current security breach, enabling faster response times. Lastly, Wazuh integrates with popular alert systems such as elasticsearch and Splunk to enable quicker response and better coordination between different stakeholders.
At Ikaroa, we believe Wazuh plays a critical role in improving IT hygiene, as it helps organizations identify potential security issues and respond quickly. In addition, its lightweight design and ability to integrate with other solutions make it an ideal choice for many organizations. For those looking to further strengthen their cybersecurity resilience, Wazuh provides a strong foundation.