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Is your data secure? Here are some things to consider

Privacy laws aren’t just about your business collecting and using information, it’s all about keeping your business secure from unauthorised access. That means your business needs to ensure that all IT systems are secure from a breach. When businesses are targeted just as much as individuals, it’s important to take cybersecurity seriously.

Here are some things to consider when you’re looking to keep your data secure and compliant with data privacy laws.

1. Insider attacks are very common

One of the first things to realise is that while outside attacks are common, research has found that a lot of cyber attacks are inside jobs from IT technicians or other staff. This can make it challenging to keep your business protected when those you trust are the ones committing the crimes. However, you can make it challenging for those inside your company.

Start by authorising access to information only pertinent to the job the employee is doing. This can be done easily with file and folder permissions set in your IT network. Permissions can be granted individually, by job title, location and other important factors you deem important.

At the same time, you should ensure that there’s a clear process for people requesting additional access. Each request should come with a specific business reason why they need it, and all requests should be granted for a limited time only.

2. Employees not keeping security a priority

The most popular password in 2018 was 123456, the second most popular password was ‘password’. While these are easy to remember, they are also easy to guess and are therefore a security risk. Employees need to learn the importance of strong passwords.

A strong password should contain a nonsensical string of letters and numbers with at least one capital letter and a special character (if possible). Those that do follow this very important password process can undo the hard work if they store their password openly like on a piece of paper in their draw.

Passwords should also be changed regularly, so any that have been compromised will remain so only for a short while. When employees are made to change passwords, the system should ensure they don’t use the same one again.

3. Keeping up with security updates

Patches to IT systems need to be acted upon very quickly. When a patch or fix is released, it’s often because a flaw in the IT networks system has been found. It is almost guaranteed that if the software providers know of the problem, so do cybercriminals. Therefore, all fixes and patches need to be implemented as soon as possible.

This can be challenging if you’re really busy or don’t get the updates in a timely manner. This is also when your computer networks are most vulnerable. When you’re using cloud solutions in your IT systems, you can actually benefit as the cloud provider will automatically apply these updates and security patches to keep their systems, and yours, secure at all times.

If you don’t have cloud services, you have to do these updates yourself. This isn’t too problematic, but you should always ensure there is a backup of your data. In addition, if you aren’t confident with completing updates, it’s safer and more secure to seek professional help.

4. Email security

Another benefit of cloud services is that often your emails are filtered for malicious emails sent to your employees. While many employees know of the potential dangers in emails, especially phishing campaigns, many of them will still open all potentially dangerous emails and up to 10% will actually click through on potentially malicious links.

Employees first need to be protected from this with proper email filtering. Cloud systems can provide this. In addition, employees should be educated on the proper process of dealing with malicious emails. This should include deleting the email and informing someone in your IT team about the email. If one employee has received the email, it’s likely that many others have too.

Your IT team should also be alerting employees when malicious emails are being sent to company addresses. Alerting employees to these dangerous emails can be an effective way of reminding them of the processes for dealing with unknown and unsolicited email addresses.

5. Backup locally

Cloud systems are great, but you should still keep a local backup of your data. This allows you to continue to access your vital data should there be a technical problem with equipment and you lose connection to cloud systems.

In addition, while cloud systems are very secure, if someone inside your company corrupts the data, intentionally, or by accident, you’ll have a backup to work from.

Backups should be done regularly, every day at the very least, to minimise disruption should the worst happen to your business.

6. Encrypt your data

Cloud systems often encrypt data loaded automatically, but it never harms to add another level of encryption on top of that. Using tools online, you can ensure all data loaded to the cloud is encrypted before being loaded to the cloud.

When you want to access it again, you simply download the file and decrypt it locally. A double layer of encryption makes it harder for data thieves to use the data they take. In some cases, they would rather move on to targets that have less encryption and are quicker to exploit.

Even data that has been backed up locally should be encrypted. In case the backups are stolen on site.

7. Be mindful of public threats

One of the great benefits of cloud services is that they allow you to work remotely. Working outside of the office is becoming a huge trend and is set to be used by more workers as technology catches up with demand. However, sometimes the environments we choose to work remotely in are not that secure.

Therefore, it’s important that while working on data, that those accessing it are secure. This means all computers connected should have anti-virus software and other measures to protect their laptops, tablets and mobiles from being hacked.

Any free Wi-Fi spots, and even those at home, are potential gaps in security unless remote workers take security seriously and keep their devices secure.

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level with a great, secure cloud service, then look at our practical and cost-effective plans. Contact us today to find out more about what we can offer your business to help make it that bit more modern. 

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