Not only are security threats on the rise these days, but they are also becoming more and more complex and potentially devastating for businesses. The recent security breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus are perfect examples of how a business can fall prey to hackers when improper security procedures are in place. In 2012, American Express, Visa, Honda, MasterCard, Google, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, and Facebook among others were hacked. Whether it is a virus, a worm, or a hacker, threats today loom large and their consequences can destroy a company. By taking a methodical approach to developing a comprehensive security solution, you will be able to greatly reduce the potential of a breach. Here are some key tips on the measures you can take to protect your business…
- Understanding the Essentials: It is easy to become overwhelmed when considering all the different security solutions available. A good place to start is to understand the essential parts of security and what ultimately requires protection. For example, email is one of the most common ways a threat can enter a system. Therefore, it is important to protect against spam, spoofing, viruses, and other malicious entities that can enter a network via email. It is also important to consider protection for each individual computer, not just your servers. According to a 2014 poll released by Fox Business on computer security at the office, employees who use a computer regularly for their jobs showed risky behaviors ranging from uploading work files to personal emails to accidentally sending sensitive information to the wrong person. These potential data breaches need to be addressed in a formal security plan and properly communicated to all staff.
- Identify Needs: It is important to go through your business systematically and identify all potential security threats. Remember that threats can come from a variety of sources. For example, if an employee downloads a file from a questionable website, it could provide hackers a way into your entire network. If network passwords are not changed after an employee leaves a company, that becomes another security lapse. It is often helpful to bring an outside resource to conduct a complete security audit and help identify all the needs and the risks involved. An outside advisor can be very helpful for businesses that do not have an in-house IT team. Security companies stay up to date on all the latest threats and industry trends. They can bring a fresh perspective to this important issue and help with implementation and management of a business’ security solution.
- Software Options: There are a variety of different software solutions available for businesses of all sizes. Depending on the size and type of business, there are systems that run on individual computers, servers, email, and more. It is also important to run updates and install patches related to the system software itself, such as Windows 7. While many of the updates associated with system software relate to general usability, there are times when security updates are also released. Computers should be checked at regular intervals for these types of updates so that they are installed in a timely fashion.
- Develop Employee Guidelines: While it is often not done on purpose, employees can create large lapses in security. For example, does your business have an Internet usability policy? Do you allow employees to utilize outside USB drives? Have you offered your employees training on how to keep company data secure? These are just a few questions that can be used to develop a variety of security-related policies and procedures that will help keep the network, and the data housed within it, secure. The 2014 poll released by Fox Business also revealed that 87 percent of senior managers regularly upload work files to a personal email or cloud account, while 58 percent said that have mistakenly sent sensitive information, and 51% have taken sensitive files with them after leaving a job – twice as many as non-management employees.
- Do Not Forget about Protecting the Data: While many businesses focus on just protecting hardware, it is equally important to make sure your data is protected as well. Make sure backups are run regularly to safeguard against accidental file deletions or corruption. Also, consider password-protecting different subdirectories and using encryption to help keep files and folders secure. Think about how much data your business keeps electronically. Now think about how hard it would be to re-create all that data if there was a natural disaster or your network was hacked.
- Browse Safely: Make sure your employees visit only trusted sites. Never browse websites from a server. If malicious code is encountered while browsing from a server, the results could be catastrophic. Do not allow users to download and install software directly from the Internet. Make sure a firewall is in place for your network. These are just a few good practice ideas that should be considered when developing employee guidelines.
- “Or Else!”: Unfortunately, when security lapses are not addressed, a business is left wide open to threats from a variety of sources. For many businesses, even a small disruption in day-to-day business can have detrimental effects. This is why it is so important to have proper security solutions in place to keep everything running smoothly. If there is confusion about how to achieve the most appropriate solution, bring in an outside security vendor and have a proper assessment done. This way nothing is overlooked.
The All Covered Difference
All Covered is here to work with you to set up comprehensive security plan. Our goal is to protect your company’s data by implementing a solid IT infrastructure. Contact us today at (866) 446-1133 for more information or to schedule a consultation.
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