Taking measures to protect confidential information is essential in today’s world. Cybercrimes from email scams to automated network attacks are becoming more frequent. Companies have to worry about stolen customer data, ransomware, public embarrassment, and the loss of intellectual property which can all ruin the company brand and the bottom line. Here are five ways to protect yourself.
Dispose of Sensitive Information
Document shredding is important. Any paperwork that might have sensitive information regarding account numbers, financial statements, invoices, passwords, or intellectual property should be destroyed. Destroying confidential digital information is also important. Simply deleting files isn’t enough, as they can be recovered from the physical drive. Look online for a utility that can help remove files permanently, so there are no risks when trashing or trading in outdated computers and other electronic devices.
Protection for Your Network
There should always be multiple layers of security software. This includes firewalls, email filters, and software specifically engineered to protect against malware, spyware, ransomware, viruses, and other hidden threats. Software patches and updates should be applied as soon as they become available. All network connections should be protected with secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption, which ensures that all communications are encrypted and arrive intact. All sensitive information such as customer passwords, social security numbers, financial accounts, and so forth should be stored separately in encrypted tables within database applications.
Protecting your offices and computers from physical access is just as important. Be sure there are security cameras and locking doors accessible only to those with electronic ID cards. Access to server farms and data centers should be restricted to required IT personnel. File and data servers should be locked up in security cages. Regular data backups should be made to offsite storage so data can be restored in the event of cyber attacks, fire, theft, or other setbacks.
Everyone on site should be encouraged to practice sound security habits. Keep laptops and mobile devices secure and never leave them in plain sight in a vehicle. Log off computers every time you leave your desk. Establish strong password policies for both workstations and sensitive files. You could encourage the use of pneumonic devices such as “I want to see Disney World next year” (Iw2sDW17). Make sure employees are aware of potential phone and email scams.
Consider outsourcing some or all of your IT needs to a managed services provider. Expert staff dedicated to providing good services can help to upgrade or redesign enterprise solutions. Ongoing support for hardware and software can provide round-the-clock monitoring so that any issues are remedied quickly and maximum network uptime is achieved. Ottawa IT support provides a higher level of security and reduces exposure.
Cybercriminals are always at work devising new ways to exploit weaknesses. Certain government guidelines for protecting consumer information are mandatory. Failure to protect confidential information could result in liability, fines, and loss of customers. It’s more important than ever that data be safeguarded against these increasing threats.