Every so often, a spectacular hacking incident dominates international headlines. Whether it’s a massive DDoS attack that paralyzes some of the largest websites in the world or the loss of millions of confidential customer records to identity thieves, these incidents regularly remind us digital computing is fraught with risks.
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Crucial tips for securing your digital assets
The interesting thing though is that the overwhelming majority of cybersecurity incidents are easily preventable as long as organizations adhere to certain basic security principles. The following are some useful tips to keep enterprises more digitally secure.
1. Patch, Patch and Patch Some More
The digital threat environment is constantly changing. New vulnerabilities are discovered each month. It’s not possible for any software maker, no matter how large and well-resourced, to build an application that will never require security updates.
That’s why every major software maker including established brands such as Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe and Google, regular release security updates (or patches in tech lingo) to eliminate the most recently discovered vulnerabilities. Make sure all enterprise devices have their patches applied immediately they become available. Turn on automatic updates so you do not have to remember to apply the patches manually.
2. Install Protective Software
Every software maker incorporates security controls in their application. This includes leading operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS and Android. Such controls are meant to prevent unauthorized access and ensure the system isn’t easily compromised. Nevertheless, the breadth and sophistication of threats is such that, a third party security application is necessary to ensure computer systems are secure.
This is where antivirus software comes in. They are built by companies that specialize in the identification and elimination of malware. They therefore have knowledge of security issues in a broader and deeper sense than operating system developers for instance. Once you install an antivirus, ensure the virus definitions are regularly updated.
3. Strong Passwords
Nearly every adult today has a password. Whether it’s for logging into enterprise systems at work or signing into their personal email at home, passwords are a security necessity. Nevertheless, passwords aren’t created equal. Some types of passwords are easier to break through intelligent guessing or a brute force attack.
A strong password is one that uses a combination of numbers, letters and special characters. Passwords should never contain information someone can easily connect to the account owner such as name, residential address, birthday, workplace or profession. Also, avoid commonly used and default passwords such as ‘password101’, ‘guest101’ or ‘user101’.
4. Physically Secure Devices
It’s all good to have complex passwords, patched systems, robust firewalls and an up-to-date antivirus. But all this can come to naught if your hardware isn’t physically protected. Start with your most valuable technology assets i.e. enterprise servers. Make sure only authorized personnel have access to your data center.
Best practice is to have a card or biometric access system that controls who enters the server room. This should be part of an enterprise-wide access control system that makes it difficult for anyone to take away an office computer without authorization. If there is a known or suspected cybersecurity incident, you could use tools such as log analysis with Loggly to scan the access system audit trails in order to identify who the suspects might be.
5. Backup Data
The enterprise technology environment is complex and comprises multiple moving parts. So despite your best efforts, expect the unexpected. Some events will be beyond your organization’s control and be the result of the actions of a third party. Brace for the worst by always backing up all your key data and systems.
Permanently lost data can cripple any business. You should backup your most critical enterprise systems in real-time and do so for the low and medium priority systems at the end of every day.
By incorporating these tips to your enterprise cybersecurity checklist, you can make your workplace safer.