A Gemalto study makes the consequences of failed business internet security crystal clear: 70% of surveyed customers would stop doing business with a company that suffered a data breach. While it’s impossible to silence all threats to a company’s business internet security, it is more than possible to take some simple steps and shore up cyber security – making it safer to do business and improving the chances you’ll keep your customer base.
General Ways to Improve Business Internet Security
Since business internet security is vital to the health of a business of any size, a cornucopia of options is now on hand to help businesses build up their cyber security. All that remains is to pick the blend of options that’s most appropriate for each individual business.
Embrace a limited amount of change. When was the last time you changed your passwords? If you can’t remember, it’s probably been too long. Changing passwords occasionally is good practice; you may have heard the Better Business Bureau recommend monthly changes. Others, however, recommend a little less frequency to help prevent hassled employees from employing less-than-secure workarounds. It’s a bit of a balancing act; most employees have a lot of passwords to remember already, even with help like password managers built into browsers. So requiring frequent changes only makes those employees look for a “better way” that doesn’t add to their workload. Even the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommended lower-complexity passwords (no more “letters, numbers, doodles, sign language and squirrel noises,” as a “Dilbert” strip once put it) and less-frequent changes to improve user experience.
Cancel all outstanding credentials. When an employee leaves for whatever reason, shut down their credentials as quickly as possible. A 2017 study considered “insider threats” to account for almost three out of four security breach incidents. By removing outdated and unneeded credentials, you remove an avenue for unauthorized access into your systems. The fewer ways there are to get into your system, the simpler it is to monitor those remaining access points and thereby improve your overall security.
Make your systems patch-perfect. Are you keeping up with software patches? These little downloads can be some of the best protective measures your cyber security can find. Built by design to address security flaws and potential exploits, patches are issued directly from the companies that offer the software being used. By keeping up with patches, you directly address security vulnerabilities that may be widely-known and readily exploited…unless they’re patched, that is.
Add some training. If your employees are thinking about sunny days on the water when you start talking about phishing, then it may be time for a little extra training. Understanding the difference between phishing and spear phishing, and what to look for in each, can help block one major potential security problem right at the source. The difference, by the way, is that “phishing” tends to be broadly dispersed while “spear phishing” is highly focused and thus has greater authenticity on its side.
Back up your systems right now. Want to know the best way to stop a ransomware attack? Pull its teeth immediately by keeping offline or cloud-based backups. By backing up your systems—and it’s even better if your backups are off-site, especially if there’s a fire or similar disaster at your main location—you automatically remove the biggest problem with ransomware: the loss of your files. Sure, you’ll also lose the PC that’s been infected with the ransomware, but if you’ve turned ransomware into a minor nuisance with offline backups, you’ve addressed a growing and downright insidious breed of cyber security threat.
Consider appliances. One particular system known as a network security appliance (NSA) can really tilt the scales in your favor in business internet security. Sometimes called “thin clients” or “closed-box systems,” an NSA usually contains less hardware than normal, and also focuses on specific functions. One of these functions can be overall data control, which allows potential threats to be more readily spotted and addressed.
Consider one new hire. A new hire may not sound simple, but this could be one of the biggest steps you’ll take in improving your cyber security. All of these solutions mentioned can be great, but they need to actually be used in order to get anywhere. Thus, consider one new hire: a dedicated cyber security manager to put these solutions into practice and keep them running. It’s one thing to say you’ll keep up with the latest patches, but another to actually do it, especially when a big deadline is looming or an emergency arises. That one new hire can keep your business internet security resolve strong and running.
Give Your Business Internet Security a Leg Up With Better Connectivity
You’ve seen there are several ways to bolster your business internet security. When you’re looking to improve your communications as well, reach out to us at iTel. We’ve got a wide range of communication offerings, starting with voice services like SIP trunking and managed voice systems. Networking, cloud services, and data services are also on hand. So while you’re bulking up your cyber security profile, don’t forget about your communications systems – get in touch with us to learn more.