As unfortunate as it is to say, IT security and its related expenses are no more than an afterthought in most businesses today. The thing that makes this frightening is that the world is currently in an era where cybercrime is more rampant than ever and the success rate of same is startling. Usually, the lack of focus on IT security results from IT personnel and/or business decision makers being underinformed.
Before going through this article, note that the information provided is not enough for full protection of your business. In fact, it is advisable for you to encourage as much research as is possible in the area of IT security so your IT department can be aware of current security trends and threats, which allows for better protection of your business. Below is a look at three ways to improve IT security in your business.
Security Awareness Training
This is one of the best ways to protect your business from hackers and other malicious users around the world. Even when the IT department is well informed and putting correct policies into practice, you must consider the extent to which end users are aware of said practices. One of the best ways to teach and reinforce acceptable IT practices is implementing and enforcing security awareness training. There are platforms such as KnowBe4, which you can use to mass provide mandatory training to all system users. It allows you to track the progress of each user and provides them with all the necessary basic information they need to complete their daily tasks in a secure manner. You even have the option of denying access to system resources if the training is not completed by a certain date.
Arguably the most common way malicious entities get into your business is through e-mail. Not only is it technically an unsecure communication channel, but hackers can disguise phishing e-mail, spam, etc., as legitimate messages, which can lure users into doing things such as clicking on unsafe links. Once your business makes use of e-mail, there is usually an underlying provider such as Microsoft, Google, cPanel, or Network Solutions. All these vendors provide a facility that uses established rules to categorize messages as junk or spam. Unfortunately, these filters only achieve so much as they are not fine grained enough to provide adequate protection. This is where implementing a specialized quarantine system such as Mailroute or Proofpoint comes into play as it adds an additional layer of security by processing mail before it hits mailboxes. Rules can be established to deny messages entry and policies can be configured on an organization wide basis, which allows for better management of unwanted messages.
Lack of updates is another key reason for system compromises. You may have seen Windows updates processing on your machine in the past and it may not really have meant much to you. In many cases these are security patches sent out as Microsoft discovers vulnerabilities in the systems that hackers can exploit. If you’re an IT person, ensure machines are updated. If you’re not, ask your IT person about the way updates are handled so you can be sure they are being done. This is also why it is important to retire old hardware and operating systems as older ones such as Windows XP are no longer in support, which means they no longer receive security updates.
There is honestly so much to say about IT security that it cannot all fit into this article. Such a concept is much broader and more complex than most people are aware of. What you need to remember though is to consider the three areas mentioned above and to do all the research you can to improve security practices in your organization.