5 Quick Tips
There are many ways that your IT service company can help you keep your business IT secure. We’ll talk about five of them here.
1. Enforce Strong Password Control.
Passwords remain a go-to tool for protecting your data, applications, and computer devices. They also remain a common cybersecurity weakness because of the careless way employees go about trying to remember their login information.
Despite the fact that passwords are the most direct way to access a user’s private information, most passwords in use today are simply not strong or complex enough. Passwords protect email accounts, banking information, private documents, administrator rights and more; and yet, user after user and business after business continues to make critical errors when it comes to choosing and protecting their passwords.
Weak passwords are easy to compromise, and if that’s all that stands between your data in the Cloud and in applications, you could be at serious risk for a catastrophic breach.
Make sure that your employees are using unique and complex passwords to access your accounts. They should use passwords that:
- Are at least 8 characters long.
- Include a number and a symbol.
One of the best ways to maintain complex passwords is with a password manager. Password managers are the key to keeping your passwords secure.
A password manager generates, keeps track of and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information. It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option.
Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you and your employees. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher.
2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication.
Multi-Factor Authentication requires the user to utilize two methods to confirm that they are the rightful account owner. It is an available security feature in many popular applications and software suites.
By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly-generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re better able to ensure that the person using your employee’s login credentials is actually who they say they are.
There are three categories of information that can be used in this process:
- Something you have: Includes a mobile phone, app, or generated code
- Something you know: A family member’s name, city of birth, pin, or phrase
- Something you are: Includes fingerprints and facial recognition
Multi-Factor Authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to an existing system and account logins.
3. Install All Security Patches and Updates.
One of the most common ways that cybercriminals get into a network is through loopholes in popular software, applications, and programs. If you don’t install security patches and updates, your IT system will be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Despite how advanced modern software is, it’s still designed by humans, and the fact is that humans make mistakes. Due to this, much of the software you rely on to get work done every day could contain flaws that leave you vulnerable to security breaches.
Many of the most common malware and viruses used by cybercriminals today are based on exploiting those programming flaws. Hackers look for security flaws in software to exploit. They write codes to target software vulnerabilities. An exploit can infect your computer without your knowledge. It can steal data on your device or allow the attacker to gain control over your computer and encrypt your files.
To address this, developers regularly release software patches and updates to fix those flaws and protect users. This is why all of your systems and software, including networking equipment, should be updated in a timely fashion as patches and firmware upgrades become available.
Also, be sure to use automatic updating services whenever possible, especially for security systems such as anti-malware applications, web filtering tools and intrusion prevention systems.
4. Enforce Access Policies On Personal Devices.
When your employees use their personal devices for work, this presents unique security challenges. They can be exposed when outside of your network.
Lost, stolen, or compromised devices are a major liability for organizations that allow their employees to use personal devices for work purposes.
Do you have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place? This policy dictates how your employees can use their personal devices for work purposes. An effective BYOD policy should also instill safe and secure practices for employees that use personal devices for organization travel.
Bring-Your-Own-Device policies can be broken down into three important areas of review:
- Determining which software applications are required to manage devices connecting to the network.
- Preparing a written policy outlining the responsibilities of both the employer and users.
- Ensuring users sign an agreement acknowledging that they read and understand the policy.
In a BYOD workplace, organizations lose much of the control over the equipment and how it’s used. After all, how do you tell an employee what they can and can’t do with their own laptop or smartphone? Company-issued devices, on the other hand, are protected by company-issued security that is controlled by IT administrators.
5. Secure and Encrypt Your Wireless Connections.
Be sure your company Wi-Fi is separate from guest Wi-Fi. And make sure it’s protected with WPA2 protection.
Ask your IT support company to assess the Wi-Fi in your office for security. Your IT provider will examine the wireless security measures that you have in place and determine if upgrades must be made to ensure their effectiveness.
No wireless network is entirely safe from the talented hackers out there today. And, without a properly configured wireless infrastructure, business will be vulnerable.
The older your wireless network hardware, the easier it can be hacked. If your wireless isn’t updated to combat the latest cyber threats, your data is at risk. Data losses will cost you so much more than keeping your wireless up to date.
And be alert when using public Wi-Fi. Hackers set up fake clones of public Wi-Fi access points to try and get users to connect to their systems. A fake wireless Internet hot spot looks like a legitimate service. When you connect to their wireless network, a hacker can launch a spying attack on your transactions on the Internet.
Before connecting, always check with an authorized representative of the facility to ensure you’re accessing their Wi-Fi. Never use your credit cards or work on confidential information when using public Wi-Fi.
We hope this helps. For more information about keeping your business secure, check out these articles.