Securing your computer network may not seem like the most pressing issue facing your business but if you do not do it properly, it could derail all of your hard work. Having regular IT network assessments done by qualified security companies is one way to make sure your security systems are up to date but there are other things you can do to keep your data safe.
Tips to Keeping Your Systems Safe
- >Be paranoid. There is a funny saying, “Just because you are paranoid, does not mean they are not after you.” That is a good mentality to keep when you think about your cyber security. You may not realize it but you are a target. In 2013, about 82,000 separate malware threats were discovered every day. Hackers want to be able to get your data, it is your job to make sure they fail. Malware can attack your servers when you plug devices into computers on your network so make sure all of your staff is careful with their devices.
- Have your employees use good passwords. There are applications that can help your company more easily manage passwords for all of your devices and systems but one easy way to manage this is to have a policy about it and enforce it. If you think this is something most people do, think again. Adobe surveyed 38 million of its users and found at least two million people used the password, “123456.” This is not a secure password.
- Develop an email policy. Email was never designed to be a secure form of communication and it is not. Make sure your staff understands this and set a policy to not allow them to use email to send sensitive information, such as passwords, via this channel.
- Devise policies about company equipment. It is easy to transmit data that you do not intend to when browsing on an insecure network. If your employees use company equipment when they are away from the office, say they take their work laptop on business trips, be careful about what networks they use. It is very easy for hackers to get data from these devices when they are linked to an insecure network such as a free wifi network. Pay for their wifi when they are on the road for business. You will save yourself time and money in the long run. You may have network assessments done on your office but when your employees are in a different city, you have no control over the networks they are on.
- Back up all of your data every day. This is important enough to repeat. Back up your data every day. No network assessments are complete without a review of your backup systems. You should have a plan for backup disaster recovery solutions. If you lose your data, you can hire a network disaster recovery company to help get that data back but there are never any guarantees. You would be better off hiring a network disaster recovery planning company to help you prepare before a crisis. One other option is to back your data up to a cloud computing services company. One good thing about using cloud services is that your data is saved off site so if there is a flood or fire in your facility or office, your data will be safe.
- Use social media carefully. It is easy for people to overshare on social media. Employees should be instructed about what your policies on using these sites are and also be very wary of any requests for sensitive information. Always have someone monitoring your official accounts for suspicious activity. Facebook accounts are hacked all of the time.
It is easy to think that you are not a target but you are. Conducting regular network assessments is just your starting point for keeping all of your data secure. Unfortunately, human error, often from carelessness not malicious intent on the part of your employees, can cause a lot of problems. An insecure password here, a wrong device plugged in there and your formerly secure network has been hacked. Remind your staff that network security is everyone’s responsibility. The damage that can be done to your business is too serious to be lax in this area.