5 Steps to kick start your Essential 8 Journey

Are you looking to improve your cyber security posture and better protect your organization? If so, then it would be fruitful to consider adopting the Essential 8 Maturity Model.

As we look to the future of work in the cyber security space, the prevalence of threats and attacks to our businesses are ever-increasing and also growing in severity according to the ACSC Cyber Threat Report, making it wise to follow security strategies that can help mitigate risks for your business and for your important data.

In this blog post, we’ll outline the benefits of what his model can bring to your business alongside 5 steps that you can take to kick-start your Essential 8 journey. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to improving your organization’s cybersecurity posture. So let’s get started!

What is the Essential 8 Maturity Model?

Created by the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the Essential 8 Maturity Model is a set of cybersecurity controls that organizations can implement to improve their defences against adversaries. Think of this as a baseline of where to start as part of your cyber security journey for a modern workplace.

The Essential 8 focuses on eight core security controls that are designed to mitigate common cyber security threats and reduce the overall risk of cyber-attack. These eight controls include application whitelisting, patching applications, patching operating systems, privileged access management, user application hardening, multi-factor authentication, daily backup and restricting administrative privileges.

Depending on where your current cyber security posture, your business may be one of the 4 Maturity Levels:

  1. Maturity Level Zero – signifies that there are weaknesses to your IT security posture and if breached, these weaknesses could be the unlocked front door the attacker needs to compromise your environment with very little to no IT security controls in place.
  2. Maturity Level One – have some IT security mitigation strategies in place with some of the Essential 8 security controls implemented.
  3. Maturity Level Two – have further IT security mitigation strategies and more stringent controls in place when it comes to implementing and managing the Essential 8 security controls.
  4. Maturity Level three – have high IT security mitigation strategies in place where all Essential 8 security controls have been implemented, updated, maintained, and managed consistently.

What are the benefits of implementing the Essential 8 Maturity Model?

The Essential 8 model emphasizes developing a culture of IT cyber security within an organization by ensuring robust processes are in place to uphold established standards. This includes training employees on security best practices and procedures as well as encouraging them to think critically about their day-to-day activities from a security standpoint. Developing strong partnerships between IT teams and other stakeholders such as legal departments is also key for successfully embedding the Essential 8 into everyday operations and keeping risk at bay over time.

Organizations that implement the Essential 8 have seen:

5 Steps to start your Essential 8 Maturity Journey

Remember this is not a sprint. It’s a marathon, ensuring and embedding a security culture for your long-term IT strategy.

1. Establish an Essential 8 team

To kick-start your Essential 8 journey, it is important to create a team that is dedicated to overseeing and managing the model’s implementation. This team should include people from various departments such as IT, security, legal and HR, who can collaborate and develop the guidelines needed to ensure the successful adoption of the model.

2. Develop a strategy

The Essential 8 team should create a detailed strategy that outlines the goals and objectives for implementing the model, as well as people and processes needed to meet them. It is also important to consider how feedback from stakeholders can be incorporated into the process.

3. Create an Implementation Plan

Based on the strategy, create an implementation plan that outlines the steps needed to implement each of the Essential 8 controls. This should include details about how changes will be implemented and monitored on an ongoing basis with the right expertise.

4. Train Your Teams

Security training alongside training of the Essential 8 Model is essential for succesful adoption. Ensure your teams are aware of best practices and processes related to Essential 8 and how they can help to protect your organization against cyber threats.

5. Monitor and Review

Continuous monitoring of the Essential 8 model is necessary to ensure compliance with security standards and best practices. It is also important to review the model periodically to assess if any changes are needed in order to keep up with evolving threats and technologies.

Have a trusted team to help managed and monitor your Essential 8 Journey

At Atarix, the cyber security team of experts is well versed in translating the Essential 8 security controls required to implement this for your business. Organisations can start their cyber security journey with us, with our help we can step you through hand-in-hand in taking the necessary steps in keeping your IT environment securely managed and compliant with industry standards.

We’re here to ensure your business is resilient against today’s complex and ever-changing threats. If you’re looking to find out more about how to get started, feel free to reach out to our friendly team or find out more about Managed Security for further support.