With the Internet now playing such an integral role in every aspect of business, from the cloud to mobile devices, security has never been a more important issue. With that in mind, this article looks at some of the most common security threats that a business can face and what you can do to protect your data and make your online business activities safer.
Common online security threats
Cybercrime has an assortment of criminals in its ranks including:
- Identity thieves – Those who steal other people’s identities, using personal details garnered online and then use those identities to commit fraudulent acts.
- Data thieves – Those who steal valuable data from online sources either to sell or to steal money.
- Data corrupters – Those who maliciously hack business networks and websites to plant viruses and disrupt services.
How to protect your business
Ways you can improve your security include:
- Ensuring that your staff keep their password information secure.
- Educating your staff on the dangers of unauthorised Internet use on company devices.
- Updating software regularly and installing virus protection and encryption software.
- Educating your staff about the dangers of phishing (obtaining information by posing as someone you are not) in emails and on social media sites.
- Securing your computers when they are not in use and keeping your servers in a secure area.
- Standardising all company-owned mobile devices.
- Regularly updating security on employee BYO (Bring Your Own) devices.
- Changing passwords every 60 days and making sure they are strong ones.
- Erasing the hard drives on redundant computers and devices before sending them for recycling.
- Securing office equipment such as printers and copiers that are linked to the Internet.
- Restricting access to sensitive company data on a need-to-know basis.
- If using Wi-Fi, updating it to the latest encryption standard (WPA2).
- Ensuring that other organisations with whom you share data also have adequate security measures in place.
- Getting a security assessment by trained professionals every 6 to 12 months
Most business owners and managers are aware that being online poses a security risk to their business. But many seem to think that it is purely an IT problem, and that if you put enough walls up and gadgets in place you will be able to control the risks.
Unfortunately, many corporate security breaches that have occurred were caused either intentionally or inadvertently by employees of the company, which is why online security is as much about education as it is about plugging the gaps.