- What is The Essential Eight
- Why The Essential Eight matters to you as a leader
- The Eight mitigation strategies
- The three maturity levels
- Implementation guidance
The Essential Eight is a collection of baseline strategies developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASCS) to mitigate the risk of cyber threats to your business. From the complete list of mitigation strategies developed by the ASCS, these eight have shown to be the most effective and essential across all organisations.
The strategies are both practical and effective for organisations of any size and industry and are fast becoming a requirement for many commercial engagements including government contracts and cyber insurance.
The Essential Eight Maturity Model in turn not only provides guidance on how to implement the Essential Eight strategies but is widely recognised by both government and industry as a benchmark of organisational cybersecurity maturity.
In this video, Ben Love, the founder and managing director of Grassroots IT, provides an executive briefing on the Essential 8 cybersecurity maturity model. Grassroots IT is a technology consulting and managed services firm working with clients across Australia and New Zealand. Ben Love discusses the importance of cybersecurity and leveraging technology to solve problems and deliver meaningful results. The agenda includes an overview of the Essential 8 cybersecurity maturity model, its strategies, and the three maturity levels.
Ben explains that the Essential 8 was developed by the Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) and highlights its practicality and relevance for all types of organizations. He emphasizes that the Essential 8 should be considered as a minimum baseline for cybersecurity efforts. He also mentions the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as an alternative framework, emphasizing that the two models can work together.
The video emphasizes why the Essential 8 matters to leaders and organizations. Ben points out that cybersecurity is a board-level responsibility, and protecting shareholder value is crucial. He mentions the significant costs associated with security incidents, including financial losses, disruption of business operations, and reputational risks. He also mentions the importance of cyber insurance and the growing trend of pushing cyber compliance down through supply chains.
Ben highlights that the Essential 8 provides a well-tested and recognized framework for improving cybersecurity posture. It allows organizations to communicate their security measures effectively to clients, suppliers, and supply chain partners. He assures that leaders don’t need to be security experts to have confidence in their cybersecurity efforts when using the Essential 8 model.
The video delves into the eight mitigation strategies within the Essential 8, focusing on application control, application patching, Microsoft Office macros, user application hardening, restricting admin privileges, operating system patching, multi-factor authentication, and regular backups. Ben emphasizes their significance in strengthening cybersecurity and mitigating cyber incidents.
The discussion then moves to the three maturity levels: opportunistic (level 1), selective (level 2), and focused (level 3). Ben explains that these levels are based on mitigating increasing levels of adversary tradecraft. He describes the characteristics and behaviors of each level, highlighting the need for organizations to identify the desired maturity level based on their desirability to adversaries and the potential consequences of a security incident.
Implementation strategies are discussed, emphasizing the importance of identifying the desired maturity level, considering user resistance, costs, and evidence quality. Ben recommends implementing each maturity level in turn, across all eight strategies, to create a comprehensive and effective security perimeter.
The video concludes by emphasizing the value of the Essential 8 as a self-assessed maturity model and the importance of gathering evidence of good quality to accurately assess an organization’s cybersecurity posture. Ben highlights that higher-quality evidence comes at a higher cost but provides more reliable assurance of security measures.
Throughout the video, the importance of cybersecurity and the Essential 8 framework is emphasized, providing leaders and organizations with actionable insights to improve their cybersecurity maturity and protect their valuable assets.
Ben is a highly experienced technology and business professional with over 25 years’ experience in the field. Prior to founding Grassroots IT in 2005 he served in various roles including Systems Administration, Software Development, Solutions Architecture and IT Management. With his deep understanding of technology and proven business know-how, Ben is a respected and insightful leader.
In addition to serving as Grassroots IT’s Managing Director, Ben is an ultra-marathon runner, coaches and mentors’ entrepreneurs across a range of industries and serves on the board of Entrepreneurs Organization.