Take a look around. No doubt your business is home to a huge array of technology and gadgetry, all connected to the internet. The possibilities for flexibility of working and increasing productivity have never been greater.
But can you be sure that everything, and everybody, is working to your benefit? The good that comes with increased tech use and internet connectivity must are balanced by the potential for the bad elements. Do you and your staff know enough to get the most from your IT, while minimising the risks to your business? Is there sufficient savvy to ensure security?
These are the key areas we believe every business should understand in order to keep working safely and well.
Thou shall not pass
Your passwords are one of the first lines of defence to keep data safe, but often are a neglected area. The Trustwave Global Security reports continue to highlight the weaknesses of many users’ passwords. With a small number of passwords making up a high percentage of those in use, are you sure your people are choosing wisely? Beware of simple passwords, and even combinations that look secure (names combined with numbers and capital letters) can be very succeptible to dictionary attacks.
Today it can be safer to select a longer passphrase (along the lines of ‘BetYouCantGuessMyPassword’ – though don’t use that!) rather than a combo that contains fewer characters.
Keeping the nasties out
Antivirus should be a given, but are you happy that you have antivirus protection on all your devices? How about that it is up to date, and that it is actually running?
Malware protection alongside your antivirus is a good idea alos, so that anyway infections can be detected and dealt with immediately. A solid defence that prevents anything nasty entering the system is one of the fundamentals of IT security. Which leads on to…
Beware websites bearing gifts
Websites that prompt you install free tools, widgets or add-ons van quickly have you cursing. Free software is often supported by marketing revenue that comes from the toolbars and so on that clog up your machine. To protect your privacy, and sanity given that these can grind your machine to halt, always think twice before clicking to download or install that piece of software. When in doubt, ask your IT expert.
And emails too
What goes for website installations is even more true of email attachments. If you don’t know where it came from, don’t open it. Educating staff to not click suspicious emails, links or websites will have a great positive impact in reducing your risk.
Keep it current
Everything in its place
Mobile devices mean that work travels with your people. However, don’t let that mean that files are scattered around and unprotected. Have a central storage area and control, and ensure that proper backups are maintained. That way if something should go wrong (and loss, theft or a dropped cup of coffee will ruin your data even quicker than any virus) you know that all is not lost.
Make sure you know as much as the next man
Tech savvy staff are a great plus – they will help get the maximum from what’s available. They are a great asset to any business, and will increasingly become valuable workplace assets.
But be sure to educate yourself too. Ensure that your policies and security are robust. Be aware of what everyone is using, and make sure they are using it correctly. You don’t want to be left in a position where your star performer is lured to another position and is suddenly able to take all of your data with them. Ensure that you are on top of your own IT and you can be as safeguarded as possible.
These are some of the things we consider most important for businesses that wish to make the most of their IT while ensuring security is never neglected. We will address some of these in more depth in the future, but if you have anything to add, or that you would like to see addressed, please drop us a comment below.