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7 Key Ways to Improve Business Digital Security

Posted by Bryan on 5/5/2014

Security is such an issue. But it also leads to a quandary. As Ben Franklin had said, "Those willing to trade a little liberty for the sake of security will have neither."

We want the freedom to run our business, but the threat of data breaches, robberies, etc., means we sometimes have to choose whether to protect our assets and investments or leave ourselves vulnerable.

And it is tough, if not impossible, to toe that line where we feel free yet secure. Perhaps the biggest threats in today's digital age are identity thefts and data breaches of confidential business or customer information. You need to look no further than with Target and its massive attack by hackers last winter that affected 40 million customer credit- and debit-card numbers being stolen.

While external threats are certainly possible, internal threats exist too - perhaps your employees may be unwittingly exposing your business to external threats merely by ways the use their work computers. To prevent any breach from being an "inside job," consider taking these steps to lock down your internal security:

Don't allow personal Web browsing or e-mailing at work. It's easy for employees to use up lunch-hour time checking personal e-mail or Facebook, but many malware threats can come into the work environment from social media or e-mails, so make a policy that restricts or prohibits those activities. Keep the browsing only to work-related sites and ensure that workers only use work e-mail. Keep the personal stuff at home.

Secure the confidential data. Make sure everone knows the company-approved data-management protocols and use them strictly. Do not allow for passwords to be printed or any other sensitive information to be shown anywhere near a work station, especially in areas where a non-worker or visitor could see it and use it to access the network.

Never use Wi-fi for work activity. Wi-fi is never secure, so even though you may have staff that is mobile and could use smartphones or tablets in hotspots to get work done, always drive home that work matters should and must be handled over a hard-wire, as those connections are easier to encrypt and keep secure.

Quickly report computer issues. Teach the employees to talk to IT immediately if they notice their computer is acting funny. Malware can spread quickly, so if something seems wrong, have IT address it first before logging into the company network.

Enforce the policy. Educate everyone on the company's security policy, and make sure to enforce it with sanctions for violations. Even one slip-up can be devastating to your company, so take no chances and make sure your staff knows there will be no compromise on this issue.

Lock the screen. Whenever you leave your computer, get in the habit of locking your screen. if you don't, it only take a minute for someone to get into your network and inject malware or a worm that can cripple the network and the company in general.

Use passwords everywhere. Not just for logging into the network or for accessing company e-mail; everything you do with your work computer should have a password connected to it whenever possible (this could even mean getting access to the Internet). You may have a single password for everything, but make sure not to share it - and change it often (once a quarter or more).