Tip of the Week: Four Policies to Keep Your Business More Secure
Did you know that, of all the vulnerabilities your business has to cyberthreats, your employees are one of the riskiest, simply due to their exposure to your business technology? If your business isn’t secure, it will become incredibly more difficult to serve your clientele. For today’s tip, we’re breaking down a few ways that you and your employees can positively contribute to your business’ security.
Many of the threats that will target your business’ data ultimately rely on a user to allow them access to a network. Therefore, it is important that all of your business’ users are familiar with the following concepts, and abide by them.
- Check URLs before accessing them. Cybercriminals will often disguise malicious links and malware downloads as something that the average user wouldn’t think twice to click on. For example: www.google.com - you’d assume this URL would direct you to the search engine, right? However, simply by directing it somewhere else, an attacker can easily catch your business unawares. Make sure you check the link by hovering over it, so that you can see the URL it actually directs to in the bottom of your browser window.
- Business computers should be used for business. Websites of all kinds are prone to hosting threats that can then infiltrate your systems when you visit them or download content. Encourage your users to stick to work-related tasks while using workplace devices.
- Restrict access to (and from) your systems. On a related note, there are tools that allow you to protect your assets from these threats, and can even prevent your users from accessing potentially threatening websites themselves. Firewalls and content filtering are both critically important for a business to enact.
- Rely on IT professionals. Never hesitate to call in an IT resource if you need assistance, even for the most seemingly simple issues.
Your data is critical to your success, which means it needs to be secured. This includes not only the data that you have on your clients, but on your employees as well. To do so, it will help to follow a few practices.
- Keep a data backup. When there are so many possible ways to lose your crucial business data, you need to be sure you have an ace up your sleeve. A cloud-based backup is the recommended means of doing so.
- Leverage access control. It isn’t enough to simply secure your files digitally. You also need to make sure your location is secured, inside and out. Using access control solutions and various identity verification measures to protect certain areas of your business are key.
- Keep your security up to date. Threats to your business are always in development, which means you always need to be improving the defenses that protect it. New vulnerabilities are discovered (and resolved) all the time, so you should always be monitoring your solutions for available updates.
- Make sure you abide by regulations. There are many regulations that dictate how your business should conduct itself and its operations, like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Phishing is rising in popularity, which makes it all the more important that you and your staff know how to spot it and avoid it. Here are some ways to avoid it:
- Avoid excessively urgent messages. In order to push their targets into action, many phishing messages will try to inject urgency. The idea is, if the target is alarmed enough, they won’t look more critically and identify the scam for what it is.
- Check for key details. There are a lot of warning signs that a message could be a phishing attempt. Potentially, these could be spelling errors in what should be a professional message, or the hover-check that we discussed above. Keep an eye out for these warning signs, and read some of our other blogs to learn other signals to check for.
- Confirm the message. If you have the opportunity to confirm that someone sent what looks like a phishing message through another means of communication - do so. If they did, you’re fine, and if they didn’t, you know to delete it.
- Be judgmental. If you really can’t tell if a message is legitimate, assume it isn’t, and report it to your IT provider.
Passwords are pretty much ubiquitous nowadays, which only makes it more important that your workplace establishes standards to using them.
- Passwords shouldn’t be recycled. One of the common things that are available on the Dark Web to cybercriminals are lists of stolen credentials. If you had an account on one of the websites that are hacked to get these lists, and you reuse your passwords, you could very well find your other accounts also compromised.
- Keep your passwords complex. In their attempt to create a password that they’ll remember, many users will make passwords based on common themes: things like pet names, birthdays, and other common details. This makes it easy for someone to deduce your passwords, especially with the help of social engineering.
- Try passphrases. Passphrases are especially beneficial, as they are more memorable than the typical passwords that best practices would have you create using a jumble of random alphanumerics. Furthermore, they have been shown to often be more effective than passwords where security is concerned.
- Use password managers. Forgetting passwords is one of a modern user’s biggest concerns, which contributes greatly to their tendency to lean on insecure practices. A good password manager can effectively reduce the number of passwords that you need to remember to one.
These points can lend a great start to your business’ security. White Mountain IT Services can help enact them, and more - reach out to us at 603-889-0800 to learn what else we can do.