Any device that can access your network is a potential security loophole. Close it.
Look around your office. How many printers, scanners, copiers, computers, laptops, webcams, tablets, and smartphones do you see? Every one of them is a ripe target for hackers.
So, if you truly counted, and I know you did because what better way to spend your already limited time, then that’s how many points of penetration the cyber-thieves of the world have to gain access to your network (and your data). Oh, and if you have any videoconferencing systems, smart TVs, or DVRs, go ahead and tack that on to your list of hacker-vulnerable equipment.
Not only does this raise the obvious security issue, but also an issue of productivity - because, how productive can anyone be if your entire network is down and your office comes to a halt?
How Not To Be A Sitting Duck:
- Change your passwords. Be sure to change the passwords on all your devices that come with a factory set, default password – a secure one. Secure means don’t change it to a family member’s birthday, your children’s initials, or your anniversary date (no shame here, most of us are guilty of this). Your password has to be strong so make sure it’s unique and unrelated to personal information - filled with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Encrypt important data. That way, if you or another employee loses a flash drive (accidentally leaves it sitting on the table of your local Starbucks) or someone steals it, whoever attempts to access the data won’t be able to read it because of the encryption.
- Mobile Security. All those smartphones and tablets you counted earlier, they’re connected to your network and need to be secured. It should be required that all employees using their devices with your systems have a complex password, not a 4-digit PIN. Some companies are incorporating apps that require a more complex password in order to ensure the protection of business information.
- Beware of Wi-Fi. Anytime an employee hops on free or public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or a customer’s office to access the Internet, they become a security risk. Solve this problem by requiring that everyone use a VPN (virtual private network) or a personal hotspot through their phone.
- Talk to your people. Make sure everyone in the office is aware of the vulnerabilities and the role they play in protecting the business and its data. Give them guidelines and create clear security policies so they know what is expected of them (like not putting their passwords on sticky notes and sticking them to their computers or visiting unsafe websites and clicking on Facebook ads).
- Layered Security. Protect your office equipment and data by using personal firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection devices, and monitoring to screen for attempted security breaches, attacks or unauthorized intrusion. And use spam filters to keep unwanted emails out of employees’ inboxes.
How Do You Know Which Devices Are Vulnerable?
Obviously in order to secure your business and sensitive data you have to know your points of weakness. If you don’t know which office equipment or devices are at risk, this becomes a bit challenging. Bring in a professional for this. Have them administer a security audit of your IT infrastructure to pinpoint your holes and determine what you need to keep the cyber-thieves out.
Don’t lose time and productivity due to malicious hackers. Follow these basic security measures to keep your office up and running and your business (and its data) safe.