A Guide To Improving IT Security For Businesses
As information and sensitive data become increasingly valuable, businesses must push cybersecurity to the forefront of priorities. The growing reliance on online tools coupled with the progressive sophistication of cyberattacks have also heightened potential vulnerabilities.
This post provides tips for improving IT security, helping ensure your business can focus on critical objectives instead of worrying about malicious attacks.
Tips For Improving Your IT Security
With most information and operational processes tied to online functions, businesses should be on top of their cybersecurity game. These actionable tips don’t require sophisticated protocols but go a long way toward improving your company’s security.
Employ Managed Security Services
For most small to medium enterprises (SMEs), installing a cybersecurity system (or having in-house experts in managing threats) may be beyond their capacity. Fortunately, managed security service providers offer cost-efficient solutions for IT security.
Managed service providers (MSP) are firms that offer cybersecurity services you can tailor to your business needs. Not only does this make them more affordable than staffing tech experts, but you also get focused security solutions. Keeping your system safe from malicious attacks while scaling directly to your needs is what they do.
Even if you won’t need a full suite of cybersecurity services, MSPs still let you choose between:
- Cloud Security
- Domain Security
- Email Security
- End-Point Security
- 24/7 Support
For example, the security operations service from Buchanan and other providers manages businesses’ day-to-day security controls and technologies. They also have partnerships with industry leaders, giving companies access to proven security methodologies. You get end-to-end protection and support with managed security, freeing up internal resources to focus on your business.
Audit Your Network For Vulnerabilities
If you have a capable IT team in place, you should start cybersecurity enhancement efforts by identifying system vulnerabilities. This entails a full scan of all systems connected online, such as your website, programs, and other tools.
An excellent way to make sure you get everything is by listing all network assets. This includes all software and operating systems run by each asset. After the scan, run penetration tests simulating cyberattacks. These tests uncover areas you can further improve to avoid suffering costly attacks.
With so many moving parts, testing every area of your network and operations can be challenging. If subscribing to comprehensive service from security MSPs is out of the equation, you can opt for their vulnerability testing instead. This will give you a clear picture of potential security issues at a fraction of the cost while providing a solid jump-off point for your IT team.
Encrypt All Private Data
This converts private and sensitive information into an encoded format that requires an encryption key to read. This key can only come from the user who created the data. Encrypting data is particularly important for sites collecting user information and accepting online payments. As such, it would be best if all devices used by employees for work-related tasks were also encrypted.
Like MSPs, using a third-party payment processing system is a better option than developing your own, as it already has established security systems. However, you would still need an effective encryption process if you handle private user data.
Establish Company-Wide Policies
Establishing cybersecurity protocols is an excellent way to increase awareness across the entire organization. These policies could include the following:
- Restricting personal email use
- Issuing secure devices to remote employees
- Blocking non-work-related apps and programs on company-issued devices
- Requiring power-on passwords
Apart from these, having employees undergo basic cybersecurity training could guard against phishing, ransomware, and other forms of cyberattacks. This is a way to improve employee security practices to avoid things such as password theft. If you’re a retailer, this removes one more thing to worry about as you brace for a frugal holiday season.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
This practice should be part of your company’s security policies. It’s such a simple yet effective way to improve security. Using two-factor authentication adds another layer of protection to the tools employees use.
It works by requiring users to provide additional proof that they have the authorization to access data. This can come in the form of codes or secondary links. With it, you discourage malicious elements from continuing their attempts to access information. Even if you’re just using everyday tools like Gmail and Dropbox, you should enable the two-factor authentication feature, especially when sharing sensitive files.
Back Everything Up
Backing up all your data not only ensures that nothing gets lost in the event of an attack but also enables your systems to keep running after security breaches. Seasoned IT professionals recommend the ‘3-2-1’ rule. This means having three copies of the data on two media types and another copy offsite (the cloud, for example).
Again, if you don’t have a big team of tech experts working in-house, your best option is to work with MSPs. Their security operations services cover every area you might need, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to focus on your business goals. Consider these tips to give your business the cybersecurity it needs.