7 Urgent Security Protections Every Business Should Have In Place Now

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.”

Don’t be their next victim!

You can’t turn on the TV or read a newspaper without learning about the latest online data breach, and government fines and regulatory agencies are growing in number and severity. Because of all of this, it’s critical that you have these 7 security measures in place.

  1. Train Employees On Security Best Practices.
    The #1 vulnerability for business networks are the employees using them. It’s extremely common for an employee to infect an entire network by opening and clicking a phishing e-mail (that’s an e-mail cleverly designed to look like a legitimate e-mail from a web site or vendor you trust). If they don’t know how to spot infected e-mails or online scams, they could compromise your entire network.

  2. Create An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – And Enforce It!
    An AUP outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. We strongly recommend putting a policy in place that limits the web sites employees can access with work devices and Internet connectivity. Further, you have to enforce your policy with content-filtering software and firewalls. We can easily set up permissions and rules that will regulate what web sites your employees access and what they do online during company hours and with company-owned devices, giving certain users more “freedom” than others.

    Having this type of policy is particularly important if your employees are using their own personal devices to access company e-mail and data.

    If that employee is checking unregulated, personal e-mail on their own laptop that infects that laptop, it can be a gateway for a hacker to enter YOUR network. If that employee leaves, are you allowed to erase company data from their phone? If their phone is lost or stolen, are you permitted to remotely wipe the device – which would delete all of that employee’s photos, videos, texts, etc. – to ensure YOUR clients’ information isn’t compromised?

    Further, if the data in your organization is highly sensitive, such as patient records, credit card information, financial information and the like, you may not be legally permitted to allow employees to access it on devices that are not secured; but that doesn’t mean an employee might not innocently “take work home.” If it’s a company-owned device, you need to detail what an employee can or cannot do with that device, including “rooting” or “jailbreaking” the device to circumvent security mechanisms you put in place.

  3. Require STRONG passwords and passcodes to lock mobile devices.
    Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number. On a cell phone, requiring a passcode to be entered will go a long way toward preventing a stolen device from being compromised. Again, this can be ENFORCED by your network administrator so employees don’t get lazy and choose easy-to-guess passwords, putting your organization at risk.

  4. Keep Your Network Up-To-Date.
    New vulnerabilities are frequently found in common software programs you are using, such as Microsoft Office; therefore it’s critical you patch and update your systems frequently. If you’re under a managed IT plan, this can all be automated for you so you don’t have to worry about missing an important update.

  5. Have An Excellent Backup.
    This can foil the most aggressive (and new) ransomware attacks, where a hacker locks up your files and holds them ransom until you pay a fee. If your files are backed up, you don’t have to pay a crook to get them back. A good backup will also protect you against an employee accidentally (or intentionally!) deleting or overwriting files, natural disasters, fire, water damage, hardware failures and a host of other data-erasing disasters. Again, your backups should be AUTOMATED and monitored; the worst time to test your backup is when you desperately need it to work!

  6. Don’t allow employees to download unauthorized software or files.
    One of the fastest ways cybercriminals access networks is by duping unsuspecting users to willfully download malicious software by embedding it within downloadable files, games or other “innocent”-looking apps. This can largely be prevented with a good firewall and employee training and monitoring.

  7. Don’t Scrimp On A Good Firewall.
    A firewall acts as the frontline defense against hackers blocking everything you haven’t specifically allowed to enter (or leave) your computer network. But all firewalls need monitoring and maintenance, just like all devices on your network. This too should be done by your IT person or company as part of their regular, routine maintenance.

Want Help In Implementing These 7 Essentials?

If you are concerned about employees and the dangers of cybercriminals gaining access to your network, then contact us about how we can implement a managed security plan for your business.

At no cost or obligation, we’ll send one of our security consultants and a senior, certified technician to your office to conduct a free Security And Backup Audit of your company’s overall network health to review and validate data-loss and security loopholes, including small-print weasel clauses used by all 3rd-party cloud vendors, giving them zero responsibility or liability for backing up and securing your data. We’ll also look for common places where security and backup get overlooked, such as mobile devices, laptops, tablets and home PCs. At the end of this free audit, you’ll know:

  • Is your network really and truly secured against the most devious cybercriminals? And if not, what do you need to do (at a minimum) to protect yourself now?

  • Is your data backup TRULY backing up ALL the important files and data you would never want to lose? We’ll also reveal exactly how long it would take to restore your files (most people are shocked to learn it will take much longer than they anticipated).

  • Are your employees freely using the Internet to access gambling sites and porn, to look for other jobs and waste time shopping, or to check personal e-mail and social media sites? You know some of this is going on right now, but do you know to what extent?

  • Are you accidentally violating any PCI, HIPAA or other data-privacy laws? New laws are being put in place frequently and it’s easy to violate one without even being aware; however, you’d still have to suffer the bad PR and fines.

  • Is your firewall and antivirus configured properly and up to date?

  • Are your employees storing confidential and important information on unprotected cloud apps like Dropbox that are OUTSIDE of your backup?

We know it’s natural to want to think, “We’ve got it covered.” Yet we can practically guarantee we will find one or more ways your business is at serious risk for hacker attacks, data loss and extended downtime – we just see it all too often in the businesses we’ve audited over the years.

Even if you have a trusted IT person or company who put your current network in place, it never hurts to get a 3rd party to validate nothing was overlooked. We have no one to protect and no reason to conceal or gloss over anything we find. If you want the straight truth, we’ll report it to you.