Cybersecurity is now a priority for small and mid-sized businesses in Dallas. It’s no longer an afterthought, but at the foremost forefront. With the right Dallas IT support company, cybersecurity doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 12 steps you can take now to increase your business IT security
Do you know where your business-critical data resides? Take the time to arrange for an IT Inventory Assessment to determine this and if it’s adequately secured. Considering what data could be compromised if a breach were to occur, is the first step to ensure business IT security.
Define who has access to your data and under what circumstances. Create a list of the employees or contractors who have access to specific data and how those access privileges are managed and tracked. You must know precisely what type and amount of data you have, where it’s kept, and who has rights to access it.
Once you have a handle on this, your IT service company can help to develop a blueprint for cybersecurity to ensure your high-risk data is protected on all levels.
This is a formal document that goes into detail about how to protect your data and IT resources, but also what to do if things go wrong. Consult with your Dallas IT services company and put a plan in place to ensure that your data is protected both in storage and in transit.
A properly defined security policy has three primary objectives:
1. Confidentiality of data and information assets, and to confine these to only those authorized to access them.
2. The integrity of data to keep it intact, complete, and accurate, and to keep IT systems running reliably.
3. Availability so data or IT systems are accessible to authorized users when required.
Think of your IT security policy as a commitment to protect all the data you create and use, and make it an integral part of your business processes.
Your user passwords are central to IT security. Managing them isn’t always easy. However, with today’s password managers, you’ll have help generating and managing your users’ passwords.
LastPass, Dashlane, and other password managers have enterprise versions for a low cost per user.
You’ll benefit from secure-password-generation where you can set company-wide minimum password standards to meet your IT security policy requirements. You can apply customized policies to restrict access to specific devices, groups, or locations.
The human factor is still the most significant risk factor in most equations. Security Awareness Training helps your employees know how to recognize and avoid being victimized by phishing emails and scam websites, and learn how to handle security incidents when they occur. If your employees are informed about what to watch for, how to block attempts, and where they can turn for help, this alone is worth the investment.
Training should take place several times a year. People need to be reminded often about cyber threats. Plus, there are always new threats coming along, so it’s essential to stay up to date.
You must have a backup copy of your data if it’s stolen or accidentally deleted. Develop a policy that specifies what data is backed up, how often it’s backed up, where it’s stored, and who has access to the backups.
Backup to both an external drive in your office and a remote, secure, online data center. Set backups to occur automatically, and make sure your backup systems are encrypted.
Knowing that you can restore your saved data from a recent point in time and access it from a remote source is crucial in the event an incident threatens your physical office location.
Encrypted data is more secure than data that isn’t. File and disk encryption will protect data stored on your computers and network. If a laptop or storage device is lost or stolen, and the data on it is encrypted, it won’t be accessible to anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key.
The same goes for data in transit. Ensure that all online transactions use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). SSL certificates create a secure connection for transmitting information online.
Also, ask your IT service company about Encryption-as-a-Service. This ensures that your data is always encrypted. If hackers compromise your network, all they’ll get is indecipherable data.
Software developers are diligent about releasing patches for new security threats. Make sure you install them as soon as they’re released. If possible, set your systems to update automatically. Auto-updates will prevent you from missing critical updates. This is one of the most effective things you can do. It prevents security gaps and will limit the system vulnerabilities that hackers find and exploit.
Your Dallas IT services company can help with this. They can apply patches and updates remotely so you won’t need to worry about doing this yourself.
Establish security policies for the use of mobile devices on your network. They should be password-protected, so only authorized users can use them.
Instruct your employees to only use devices that belong to them and have been protected by your security policies. Ask your IT provider about Mobile Device Management that will wipe data from a device if it’s lost or stolen.
Using the cloud is a secure choice for most small businesses. The Cloud offers a substantial increase in security for all of your IT resources. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have far better security capabilities than you can obtain in your office.
Cloud security is top-rate, with high-powered hardware, firewalls, layers of protection, file encryption, and intrusion-detection systems. And cloud-computing platforms are hosted in secure data centers that are staffed 24/7 and that have high-security controls for physical access.
Good data security isn’t all about bits and bytes; you must protect your hardware and ensure secure access to your premises.
Simple things can reduce the risk of data loss like keeping doors and windows locked whenever the office is closed, installing alarms and surveillance cameras, using locks on workstations and laptops, and requiring users to activate computer lock screens whenever they leave their desks.
Be sure your company Wi-Fi is separate from guest Wi-Fi or public networks. Your internal wireless network should be restricted to specific users who are provided with unique credentials for access.
These credentials should be preset with expiration dates, with new ones provided periodically. Your company’s internal wireless should also be protected with WPA2 encryption.
Tap a trusted member of your staff to liaison with your IT service company to ensure that your employees strictly adhere to your security policy. Along with your IT professionals, this person will be your point-of-contact to ensure your business adheres to IT security compliance regulations and standards so you can stay in good standing with customers, governments, and agencies.