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How to secure your CMS in the face of a cyberattack

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Here are five simple steps to lockdown your CMS immediately in the event of an attack or assessment of a potential threat.

The news seems to be riddled with stories of cyberattacks every week, as both large and small companies across the globe are being targeted by increasingly sophisticated, bad actors.

This "sudden" uptick in ransomware attacks is, in part, because they have gotten "incredibly easy to execute, and payment methods are now much more friendly to criminals. Meanwhile, businesses are growing increasingly reliant on digital infrastructure and more willing to pay ransoms, thereby increasing the incentive to break in,” says editor Matt Stieb in

Yet, nearly 80% of senior IT and IT security leaders believe their organizations lack sufficient protection against cyberattacks. This is despite increased IT security investments made in 2020 to deal with distributed IT and work-from-home challenges, according to a new IDG Research Services survey commissioned by Insight Enterprises.

While organizations reassess their security protocols and tech infrastructure, there are small steps employees themselves can take to secure their digital environments, including their content management systems.

In this in-depth webinar, learn how to approach multi-layered security to protect from external and internal threats from David Habib, Brightspot’s Chief Information Officer.

Securing your digital content management system

First, it’s important to understand the different kinds of attacks that could potentially impact your organization:

  • Denial of service – this prevents you from providing your service to clients or customers 
  • Defacement or corruption – this changes the appearance of your online properties and can be more difficult to identify quickly 
  • Data exfiltration – when the attacker takes and uses your data against you or negatively towards your clients or customers 

5 steps to follow to ensure the security of your CMS

In the event of an attack or assessment of a potential threat, follow these steps to ensure the security of your CMS:

How to make sure your headless CMS is secure in the event of an attack

  • Review your CMS users and eliminate unnecessary ones. Likewise, review all the roles and permissions for users of your CMS throughout your organization. 
  • Regularly monitor your websites and microsites to identify potential defacement. 
  • Regularly review all of your publishing changes made within the CMS to ensure they’re legitimate and expected.
  • Establish a specific method for your employees to report issues they believe are suspicious; create a streamlined communication process for this.
  • Have your security incident processes documented; this allows you to conduct a postmortem with your organization and vendors that helped you navigate the attack.

What not to do if your headless CMS is the target of a cyberattack

  • Don’t waste time questioning or debating the legitimacy of the threat—in other words, treat the threat as real until it's not. In short, act quickly.
  • Second, don’t assume you’ve thought of everything. Use your CMS vendors and partners for support.

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How Brightspot helps with CMS security

Our Brightspot experts are always here to support you and your team. During a potential threat or attack, Brightspot can support by:

  • Centralizing communication
  • Reviewing who has access to the systems
  • Soliciting additional help as needed
  • Scaling your tech—this could mean adding more servers, restricting access to systems, password resets and other steps necessary to resolve and remediate the issue.
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The Brightspot CMS also allows you to easily monitor activity via the Recent Activity Widget, which provides a view into the publishing activities in your system, as well as a historical view into revisions to see who published what and when. From a content perspective, the existence of robust workflows, internal approval processes and defined roles by user type or team are always a safe bet to guard against unwanted changes going up on your website from within the CMS.

An additional layer of security and ever-present peace of mind can be can be achieved through the application of two-factor authentication for all access points to your CMS. Brightspot allows organizations to require two-factor authentication for users across a given site, of a specific role, or at the individual user level, meaning your most valuable content and brand assets are always protected in case of password infiltration and other cyber malfeasance.

The short story is organizations can and must be proactive in the face of a cyberattack, but also be prepared well before a disruptive and potentially devastating incident like that occurs. To assist, modern CMS systems like Brightspot ensure elasticity within your operations and allow you to be nimble and act swiftly during turbulent times, all backed by the support of Brightspot experts.


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