Every business holds critical information. Whether that is personal information of customers, employees, financial records, or proprietary information for the business itself, it must be kept private. With the growing cybersecurity threats we are seeing in the world today, it’s becoming more and more important to ensure that your network is secure.
Divulging private information can be both expensive and threatening to the longevity of your business. Data security is something that every company should take seriously, so we’ve included some tips to help you get headed in the right direction.
Keep your software updated
Nobody likes software updates. They take a significant amount of time to install and apply each time one becomes available. This means productivity is reduced or put on hold entirely during this time. However, software updates typically come with added security measures to ensure that your data is safe. While it might feel like these updates are a necessary evil, there is a way to combat the loss of productivity with automated updates. You can implement automated updates across your company’s devices to ensure that your operating systems and other software stay up to date and with the latest network security features.
Redundancies within your database can help to keep customer, company, and employee information safe in case a device is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. While it’s possible to recover lost information, it can take a very long time, which, of course, means more money. It’s worth spending upfront costs to house critical information away from devices that get everyday use in order to ensure that it can be easily restored. Depending on how much data you need to back up, you can use external hard drives, cloud services, or a local server.
Have a plan to wipe devices
Whether you’re getting ready to transfer a device to a new employee, sell old equipment, or are preparing to recycle, having a plan for erasing old data to keep it secure is critical. This process involves more than simply deleting files then emptying your trash bin, you can use data wiping tools to ensure that old files are properly deleted. However, be aware that no matter the tools you use, there can be OEM tools data wiping issues so it’s important to have an understanding of the tools that you’re using. If you’re looking to completely wipe a hard drive and start over, formatting the disk drive is a quick and easy solution as well. Before wiping anything, ensure that you have all information backed up on an external hard drive or another server.
Turn off devices
It doesn’t matter if it’s a mobile device or a computer, a connection to the internet means that you’re vulnerable to attacks from black hat hackers. While you’re more likely to keep your smartphone powered up 24/7, turn off your tablet or computers when they’re not in use. This shuts the door on attacks and keeps your data safe. Even if it’s only for weekends, you can put a policy in place that requires employees to shut off devices after business hours to keep them safe from outside threats.
Strong password policy
If your systems are compromised, passwords become a top priority for attackers to obtain to continue to gain more access. Establish a strong password policy to ensure that they’re not easily guessed by intruders. While some employees might pushback against a policy that establishes requirements that require alphanumeric and case-sensitive passwords, offering a password manager can help with this. A password manager is a secure method to safekeeping passwords. It also provides a safer alternative to employees keeping a hard copy of passwords near the computer. Even though it’s unsafe, people will often keep a pad of paper with a list of passwords or even attach sticky notes on a computer monitor that show passwords to anyone and everyone who walks by. Yes, it’s an easy way to remember passwords, but it’s an even easier way to encourage a data breach.
Install antivirus software
Antivirus software has been around since the 1980s and continues to improve as cyber threats evolve. Companies like Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee, Avira, and others have established themselves as leaders into the antivirus industry and continue to stay ahead of the curve. These improvements include security measures for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. Additional evolution of these services has grown to include malware scanning, data backup, blocking suspicious URLs, and remote wipe capabilities. Keeping your antivirus software up to date as well as your subscription current goes a long way to ensuring that your data is safe from digital threats.
Auto-lock devices after inactivity
Devices that are password protected can work to protect themselves even when people get complacent. Ensure that all devices will automatically lock after a period of inactivity. How long you set this period, of course, depends on what your employees are doing and the natural periods away from their devices that come with their job.