In an ever-changing threat landscape, knowing how to mitigate attacks, or even where to start, can be a challenge. To help ease that burden, a number of organizations and government bodies have provided recommendations on defending common real-world attacks.

One of the most highly respected sets of guidelines from the SANS Institute, sets out 20 Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense.

Who is SANS?

Formed in 1989 as a research and education organization, SANS is the largest source for security training and certification in the world. In 2008, following a number of high profile data losses, SANS compiled its inaugural list of 20 Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense. The list prioritizes measures that are effective in defending against real-world threats. In 2013, the management of the Controls was transferred to the Council on CyberSecurity (the Council), an independent, global non-profit entity committed to a secure and open Internet.

Taken from the most common attack patterns and checked across various government and industry bodies, the 20 Critical Controls focus on a small number of security controls with high-payoff, helping organizations, of all sizes, prioritize their IT security strategy.

Five steps to a more secure, creative, productive and profitable business

As a direct starting point for many organizations, SANS provides its "First Five Quick Wins" steps which provide immediate risk reduction against common threats:

1. Application Whitelisting

2. Use of Standard, Secure System Configurations

3&4. Patch Application Software and System Software within 48 Hours

5. Reduced Number of Users with Administrative Privileges

By implementing these five simple steps, businesses will be in a much stronger position to defend against the majority of attacks, leaving you with a much more secure environment where IT teams are free to focus on strategic business projects.

It's the clarity of these recommendations which make them such a useful resource for many. The result of which is more and more businesses choosing to tailor their IT security strategy around the guidance of SANS, the Council on Cyber Security and others, as a framework for improving their overall security posture.

How Avecto can help you meet SANS' recommendations

Defendpoint can help organizations meet a number of these recommendations including the first and fifth recommendations highlighted in SANS' "First Five Quick Wins".

Removing admin privileges lays the foundation for a defense-in-depth approach – and, coupled with application whitelisting capabilities, creates an essential mitigation strategy against targeted cyber-attacks.

To find out more about how Avecto can help you meet SANS' recommendations, please download this datasheet.