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5 ways to strengthen your IT security

Posted on: 24-07-2015

Make no mistake, internet hacking is on the rise. There is a criminal element at work around the globe. They don’t use traditional means to steal, and extort money and information. They exploit software using algorithms, malware and viruses – yet the threat to livelihoods is very real.

High-profile cases like the Sony hack were treated with awe and, in some cases, mild admiration by media, like a digital Robin Hood.

But what is not widely reported, are the thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that have been crippled by cyber-attacks. In some cases they are being forced to pay criminals money to retrieve their information and get their websites back online, all the while risking Government fines and Google bans.

The risk to businesses is two-fold.

A risk to operations

First of all, there is the chance of hackers using a virus to cripple your business until an amount of money is paid to have the virus removed – a direct threat to business practices.

Recent studies have shown that one in five internet users use the same password for more than five different accounts. So once a hacker has business information, they usually access personal details and accounts as well.

Protecting client information

Governments across the globe are now holding companies financially responsible for their clients’ data. That means your business can be fined if hackers manage to break your IT security and take seemingly invaluable information like email addresses. The penalties can be in the millions.

These factors mean that internet security should be one of the main concerns, and as important as locking your office door each evening.

Do you lock your office door?

You probably have an office or shop security routine when you leave in the evening. From having individual swipe cards to checking the windows are shut, locking the back door and setting the alarm before you exit and lock the front door from the outside.

In exactly the same fashion, you should take steps to ensure you have, not only the bare minimum of internet security, but a robust system, that hackers immediately put in the ‘too hard basket’ and move on to an easier target.

Remember, thieves are opportunists. They are lazy, but if they see a window open just a crack, they will target that. It’s exactly the same with online openings.

Five areas to tighten your IT security

Anti-virus software

The number of known Malware signatures is now so vast that it becomes unworkable to update all the system databases. New model anti-virus software like Webroot uses cloud-based servers to recognize knowns threats.

Wireless security

  1. Alter the default provided wireless network login and password.
  2. Disable the transmission of your service set identifier (SSID) – the name that comes up in the list of available wireless networks for mobile users.
  3. Restrict device network access – by requiring a unique 12-character MAC code.

Password protection

Do not:

  1. Use passwords with personal information (birthdays), consecutives (12345ABCD).
  2. Use the same password for more than one account.
  3. Use recovery questions that has information that is easily accessible (what city were you born in?)

Do

  1. Unsubscribe and delete your login credentials from site that you no longer use.
  2. Use two-step verification processes where available, that send a separate login code.
  3. Change your passwords about once a month, not using the same again for 12 months.

Secure, comprehensive data backup

Data loss prevention, file sharing data protection and easy ways to gain access to your information can help thwart extortion attempts from hackers. Backup systems like Druva inSync can mean it is simple to boot to a restore point prior to infection, and regain your information.

Undertake third party security audits

Technology and software companies with remote support abilities and security solutions can have the ability to manage required security controls on a day-to-day basis. . They can make certain all software is updated to the latest specification, and provide advice based on the latest trends in data security.

Talk to a knowledgeable, solution-focused team about your data security concerns, phone +65 6655 4820.