We know that protecting your business is important to you and ensuring your software and hardware is fully protected from hackers, fraudsters and the other unsavory characters should be especially high on your agenda. But where do you start when it comes to preventing disaster before it strikes?
Unfortunately, cyber attacks are increasingly common within the business world with the hackers of today seeing the compromise of websites from brands big and small as fair game for financial gain and organised crime. IT security can be a rather daunting prospect for any business, especially smaller businesses that may not have the budget to protect their assets via professional security consulting. However, there are a series of steps you can take to ensure you are doing all you can to protect the tech in your office.
Implementing a Full-Disk Encryption
Secure passwords will only get you so far when it comes to protecting against hacker attack, and many hackers can easily break through system passwords and gain access to your hard drive and wider network in seconds. Initializing full-disk encryption on each company computer offers greater defense when protecting your office and ensuring every file is secure.
A fully encrypted hard drive ensures that any attempts to duplicate your system for closer analysis are foiled and deleted files cannot be recovered by hackers. The correct implementation of encryption is essential however, so do your research to ensure you use programs that are suitably configured for your system.
Use only Strong Passwords
A fully encrypted hard drive is nothing without the use of a strong password, despite everyone knowing the importance of using a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols, many users will opt for passwords that can be easily cracked. This inevitably leaves the strongest disk encryption vulnerable. Make sure each and every staff member in your organisation understands the importance of utilising complex passwords to ensure the wider system isn't compromised.
You can also use a password manager to ensure any websites that your staff members are logging on to during their working day are accessed with a different password. Whilst it is convenient to use the same password or a slight variation, this is a green light to hackers looking to snag sensitive information. Sticky Password Pro and Roboform are password management programs that allow you to save and revisit numerous passwords securely. These tools also generate strong passwords automatically to ensure you are never caught out.
Harden Your Security with Sleep Mode
Ensuring PCs within your office are fully protected even after a period of inactivity is also important. Personalise the settings on each computer to ensure a password has to be entered when the device wakes from sleep mode. However, amend your timeout settings carefully to avoid an office meltdown, timeout after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity is usually standard. Ensure each staff member locks their PC too when leaving their desk to present a united front against unscrupulous insiders.
Always Update and Patch
It's easy to ignore security updates but don't think of these as nuisances to your working day. Even software such as Adobe Reader and QuickTime must be updated regularly to ensure your computer isn't left vulnerable. Patch management programs can be used to track and install updates automatically throughout your applications and it is recommended that you always update your system when prompted to ensure each computer in your office is correctly configured and fully protected at all times.
Brittany Thorley is a business and technology blogger, with a background in web application security she actively advises businesses of all sizes about how they can protect their online and offline assets.