It would be easy to think that only the big-name organisations are targets for cyber criminals, but in today’s environment, no business can afford to take a chance – and they don’t have to. The best practices of the world’s most secure organisations can translate into methods that work for all kinds of workplaces. IT security is a specialised area, and one of the fastest changing – but there are many simple measures that can keep your systems safer.
There are many antivirus products on the market today, but they are definitely not all created equally. The essentials that you should look for include strong reporting functionality with alerts on potential issues. Central management is a must. With a modern, mobile workforce, cloud most often works out to be the best option, giving a broader reach and lower administration time.
2. Spam protection
Spammers are increasing in both ingenuity and volume, so making a good anti-spam choice is a time and sanity saver, as well as preventing risk. We’ve been getting great results, such as high accuracy and near-zero spam messages, with our Australian-owned, cloud-based spam protection service. Clear inboxes help your people to work more efficiently, with unwelcome intrusions kept at bay.
3. HR processes
Making sure the right people have access to the right systems is vital – and the opposite is also true. Whether introducing new staff to a business, or adjusting to meet changes in roles and responsibilities of existing staff, any process involving IT permissions should be tied in to the IT group. This step avoids unwanted access, and prevents destruction or theft of data. Managing permissions – and making sure employees can access the systems they need – can also ensure the purchase of the correct hardware without waste.
4. Gateway security and content control
With the right added antivirus and spam protection, you can gain the power to block nasty sites and malicious or unsafe content. Better protect your environment, people and customers, by monitoring or reducing access to illegal or unsuitable websites.
5. Password management
In spite of best education efforts, there are still an astonishing number of easily guessed or cracked passwords in use. You avoid becoming a soft target by insisting on complex passwords that are regularly reset. It is vital that everyone in your business has a separate password, and that there is no sharing of login processes. To increase IT security, the use of password vaults is advisable to securely store company and personal passwords.
6. Admin access
Avoid adding admin access to day-to-day user accounts. It is best practice to assign IT administrators or capable admin staff a separate login to perform IT admin tasks. This avoids the high-risk practice of users having local admin rights on a desktop, and helps ensure the consistent performance of admin tasks. This combination is key to keeping your IT environment safe and virus-free.
7. Keep applications up to date
Not keeping applications up to date is like leaving the key under the mat for hackers. Delays in performing updates leaves security holes that, in some cases, allow hackers to gain full control of the network. Regularly updating windows and other software applications helps keep your systems running securely and reduces the threat of viruses. Better yet, combine this with inexpensive monitoring software that alerts you to potential risks, so you can be more proactive in the battle against intruders.
8. Physical IT security
Cyber risk is not your only consideration; physical risk is equally important. Investing in the right alarm systems and CCTV makes you a less attractive target. It is good practice to store server and network equipment in access controlled areas, with all visitors required to sign in.
9. Pay attention to backup processes
All businesses depend heavily on information, so imagine having all of your data deleted or encrypted by a hacker. Without preparation, your businesses has the potential for severe impact, but with a good backup system in place, it doesn’t have to be a catastrophe.
Backups are critical, yet surprisingly few organisations are adequately covered. Many feel confident, however, often critical data is missing when backups are checked. In a lot of cases, backups are not working at all. The good news is that recent technology developments make very reliable, automated backup options affordable. It is a good way to reduce time and stress – and usually save some money as well.
10. User Training
Today’s cyber-criminals are far better at finding and exploiting human weaknesses. They are often well resourced, professional organisations, and they know that the easiest way in can be via your users. In fact, human error is the cause of 95% of cyber breaches. Staff training and education, supported by well-designed processes and policies, make your business much less vulnerable to serious cyber-attacks.
For more information about keeping your own environment safe, contact the IT security experts at TechPath.