It’s a topic you hear about constantly these days. Whether it’s a news story about how a world-renowned social media app has been hacked and now requires its users to change their passwords, or an organisation (such as the NHS in the UK) being held hostage for a week while their data is encrypted by ransomware; online security is well and truly part and parcel of life online.
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(Guide) How to Keep Your Company Data Patched & Secure
For many startups or SMBs, the security side of running a business can often be put on the back burner while you try to get the main aspect of running a company off the ground, such as actually making money. This, however, can be a foolish thing to do.
Playing fast and loose with your customer data is something that can lead you down a very dangerous path, and should the worst happen, you can end up in a situation where your business crumbles around you. So, how exactly can we avoid the more obvious security pitfalls, while also freeing up your time to concentrate on the real work?
Patch those Holes –
First up, we need to think about security patches. Most of us are aware of those often annoying reminders on our phones or PC’s that seem to pop up at the wrong time, requiring a reboot and length install process. While we may put off these security patches on our personal devices until the weekend, doing so on company devices is not such a good idea.
Whether its a system security update or a one for a specific app, leaving unpatched software on your system can allow those with bad intentions access to your devices, and in turn your data. Deploying patches through a cloud-based platform will automate the process of keeping your work-based devices up-to-date and secure, leaving you more free time to concentrate on your actual work.
Patch management systems provide dashboards for you (or your IT manager) to see exactly what company devices are vulnerable, and provides the ability to execute updates remotely. Once set up, you and your team can go about your business safe in the knowledge that your particular company is not an easy target for the bad guys.
Make Passwords Complex & Sign-ins Easy –
Passwords are the bain of many employees working day.
With some applications that we regularly use asking for passwords to be changed every 90 days, we can often get ourselves in a situation where we are locked out of using vital programs until we try to find where we put that special password adorned post-it note.
Rather than scolding the team member who constantly needs a password reset (we all do it from time to time), get a password manager deployed within the team. Not only does this make things easier for the person who has to deal with forgotten passwords, but it also allows your team to use far more complex (and difficult to hack) passwords, without the need to remember each one individually.
Some of these apps will also give you or your IT manager access to a dashboard where they can review the password strength of each team member, showing you at a glance who needs to be called into the office for a little chat about online security, and its importance.
How Safe is that Connection?
Lastly, one often overlooked a piece of security advice, is in regards to your internet connection.
With more and more people working these days remotely, the connection we use to gain access to our data can often be the chink in the armour that cybercriminals will exploit. If you use public wi-fi hotspots, hotel wi-fi, or any other connection that the general public has access to, you are playing a dangerous game with your company and client data.
For ‘those in the know’, an unprotected public wi-fi connection is easy to exploit, so if you wish to keep your data private, avoid using these types of connections. With data plans becoming ever more affordable these days, a personal mi-fi device is a far more sensible option. If you simply have to use a public wi-fi hotspot, then a VPN can help keep your data encrypted and away from prying eyes. VPNs (virtual private networks) will make your connection far more secure and should be considered a ‘must have’ for those who are using public connections and deal with particularly sensitive data.
Once you have these three areas of your online security dealt with, you can relax in the knowledge that you have the main areas of vulnerability covered. While there is always going to be a risk of succumbing to the more nefarious cybercriminals while you are online, protecting your data as best, you can is not as difficult as you might imagine. Get it done as soon as possible, and you should then be free to get on with the far more interesting task of actually running your business.