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A brief overview of ASD Essential Eight

Dr. Heather Buker Dec 29, 2022

The ASD Essential Eight strategies are used by organisations to improve their cybersecurity posture. Here are some common questions about the cybersecurity framework.

What is ASD Essential Eight?

The ASD Essential Eight is a set of eight cybersecurity strategies developed by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). These strategies are designed to help organizations protect themselves against the most common and most dangerous cyber threats. In addition to the strategies themselves, ASD has also developed a maturity model to help organizations assess their current level of implementation and identify areas for improvement.

What are the ASD Essential Eight strategies?

The ASD Essential 8 consists of the following strategies:

  1. Application whitelisting: This strategy involves only allowing approved applications to run on an organization's computers and devices. This can prevent malicious software from running and spreading.

  2. Patching applications: Regularly updating and patching applications can fix vulnerabilities and prevent attackers from exploiting them.

  3. Patching operating systems: Like with applications, regularly updating and patching operating systems can fix vulnerabilities and prevent attackers from exploiting them.

  4. Minimizing administrative privileges: Limiting the number of users with administrative privileges can prevent attackers from gaining access to sensitive information and systems.

  5. Application control: This strategy involves only allowing approved versions of applications to run on an organization's computers and devices. This can prevent attackers from using old, unpatched versions of applications to gain access to an organization's systems.

  6. Controlled use of administrative privileges: This strategy involves using temporary administrative privileges for specific tasks, rather than granting permanent administrative privileges to users. This can prevent attackers from using administrative privileges to gain access to sensitive information and systems.

  7. Account monitoring: Regularly monitoring user accounts can help identify and prevent unauthorized access to an organization's systems.

  8. Security Configuration: Implementing security configurations on devices and systems can prevent attackers from using default or weak settings to gain access to an organization's networks.

What is the Essential Eight Maturity Model?

The ASD Essential 8 maturity model is a tool that organizations can use to assess their current level of implementation of the Essential 8 strategies. The model consists of five levels, ranging from ad hoc (level 1) to advanced (level 5).

At the ad hoc level, an organization may have only partially implemented some of the Essential 8 strategies, and may not have a formal plan in place to improve its cybersecurity posture. At the advanced level, an organization has fully implemented all of the Essential 8 strategies and has a mature, well-defined plan in place to continuously improve its cybersecurity posture.

Using the maturity model, organizations can assess their current level of implementation and identify areas for improvement. This can help them develop a plan to move up the maturity model and improve their overall cybersecurity posture. By implementing the ASD Essential 8 strategies and using the maturity model, organizations can better protect themselves against cyber threats and improve their overall cybersecurity posture.

Is ASD Essential Eight mandatory?

ASD Essential Eight is a set of cybersecurity strategies developed by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), which is a government agency that is part of the Australian Department of Defence. The ASD Essential 8 is not a mandatory requirement, but it is recommended as a best practice for organizations to follow in order to protect against cyber threats.

The ASD Essential Eight is important because it provides a set of best practices for organizations to follow in order to protect themselves against cyber threats. The strategies outlined in Essential 8 are based on the most common and effective ways that attackers gain access to systems and networks, and by implementing these strategies, organizations can significantly reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber attack.

Which organisations does ASD Essential Eight apply to?

ASD Essential Eight is applicable to all private and public Australian businesses. However, Essential 8 is used outside of Australia, too. The strategies outlined in Essential 8 are based on general principles of cyber security and are not specific to Australia or any other country. 

It is used by a wide range of organizations, including businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Because the Essential Eight provides a set of best practices for protecting against common cyber threats, it is applicable to organizations of all sizes and industries. However, it is most commonly used by organizations that have a high level of sensitivity to cyber security issues, such as financial institutions and critical infrastructure providers.

How does 6clicks help in implementing ASD Essential Eight?

The 6clicks platform helps you automate the processes required for ASD Essential 8 implementation. With an in-built content library and AI, the effort and time to implement the framework are significantly reduced. You can achieve and demonstrate compliance faster and with more efficiency. Check out more on our solutions page - ASD Essential 8.

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