Cyber security has become the need of the hour as the threat of cyber attacks keeps mounting by the day. Small, medium sized business, large conglomerates, private banks, and even government organisations are on the radar of these hackers. Breach of security is becoming increasingly commonplace and such attacks are followed by public scandals, financial losses, lawsuits, and even shutting down of certain companies. Needless to say, the threat is very real and here to stay. It won’t do to neglect your organisation’s digital security, because cyber attackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities, and you could be next.
Protection and securing your system becomes even more crucial then. Yes, one option is to consult an IT support company but what else can you do to safeguard your data? In the online world, with IoT connecting all devices together, wireless lines of communication provide a sense of control and ease of access on the go, but they also open new vistas of vulnerability. As such, little measures like securing your wireless network, or forbidding use of smartphones for work purposes, can go a long way in protecting you. Let’s take a look at 5 such tips that will help keep your system secure and keep attackers at bay.
#1 Timely Offline Backups
One of the major trends with businesses today is the humongous amounts of data that companies tend to store in online clouds. These private cloud networks may have their own security and protection as provided by the cloud storage service providers but at the end of the day your data is online, and as such, is always at risk. Sensitive client information, sales and marketing reports, internal classified memos, stakeholder details, and a lot of other such information is dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Thus, it is always sensible to have a back up of all your data on an offline external hard disk. That way, in the event of an attack, at least you won’t lose all your data.
#2 Antivirus and Constant Updates
Installing robust antivirus software on all your computer systems should be your top priority. It also pays to perform timely updates on all your software and security systems. If at all there is an attack, and the attacker manages to break through all the security layers, the antivirus will be the last thing remaining between your data and the culprits. Most antiviruses these days come equipped with anti-spyware, internet security, and password locks, thus providing you with a comprehensive protection. However, just installing these software is not enough, you must be abreast with all the new updates and improvised versions of the software as they are launched, and equip your systems with them. With cyber attacks getting more and more sophisticated, IT consultancies firmly advise that updating your system with the latest avant-garde software is a must.
#3 Employee Training
A common yet dangerous security breach is possible through negligence of your personnel staff. Installing antiviruses and state-of-the-art firewalls can only do so much, but human error can bring down your entire system. So training your employees about the dos and don’ts of cyber security and making them aware of the possible dangers of attacks will certainly be useful. You must also establish strict and stringent workplace rules, like setting up passwords for accessing data, or not letting any staff member copy the work files onto their phones, insisting on being alert while checking emails, and never divulging sensitive information on any suspicious looking sites. You could also hire a special on-site IT team to look after the digital data security at your workplace and have them ensure that rules are followed, and employees remain vigilant.
#4 Encrypt your Data
Ask any company that provides IT support and they’d tell you that encrypting your data is one of the best measures to ensure that your data remains safe. When there is sharing or transfer of information through online wireless channels, the risk of information leaks increases drastically. In such cases, encrypting the information before sending it adds another layer of security. By using block and chain ciphers, you can ensure that the attacker won’t be able to unlock the data even if they gain access to it. Without the key that opens the encryption, whatever information they manage to lay their hands on will be useless for them. As such, make sure to implement encryption algorithms on your emails, cloud systems and any other sensitive files in your system.
#5 Access Control
As discussed above, sometimes security breaches happen internally rather than from the outside and so it is important to keep an eye on your staff as well. Other than training them and making them aware about the different security protocols to be implemented, you can try installing tracking software and spyware in all your systems to keep a lookout for any possible discrepancies happening in your office. That way you can find out the moment anything goes wrong and can hold people accountable. Setting up different levels of access based on work profiles is also a technique that comes in handy to promote security. Access control enables you to keep sensitive information limited to only a select few people to whom it is relevant, and thus avoid security leaks.
Good IT support company can provide you with the complete data security package – right from setting up antivirus softwares, installing firewall and other network security layers, to training your staff, maintaining your systems, and performing timely backups and relevant system updates. They even come equipped with a plan of action to mitigate potential unavoidable attacks, and provide you with an on-site IT team to troubleshoot problems, and filter external traffic to weed out any malicious files. If you have a business in the UK, there are many IT consultancies whom you can reach out to for a free consult. You could choose from the variety of plans and security packages available and zero in on the one best suited for your business.
David has held positions as Operations Director and Head of IT in legal and professional firms for more than 10 years. He is a Director and co-owner of Amazing Support, a Microsoft Silver & Cyber Essentials accredited specialist Managed IT Support and Cyber Security Company. David actively helps SME businesses receive better Managed IT Support and Cyber Security Services in the London and Hertfordshire areas.