Personal Small Business Enterprise

IT Security Weaknesses: 6 Areas to Consider

Hackers, viruses, phishing, malware and more.  The list of IT security threats that could hurt your company’s operations (and reputation) just keeps getting longer. To help you secure your networks and data without breaking the bank, we previously posted a blog on setting your IT security budget. But now that you’ve got a budget in place, how do you get started on actually tackling your security strategy?

Today’s blog post can help you with the next crucial step: taking an inventory of the key threat exposure points in your IT system. Here’s a list of common IT security weak spots, along with some tips to enhance security at each weak spot. How many can you spot in your business?

Spam and phishing scams are email gateways to various security threats. To mitigate these threats, you can:

– make sure your spam filter is set high enough, and tell your staff not to reply to suspicious, unsolicited emails asking them for secure or sensitive information. Furthermore, tell them not to click on links that seem fake or suspicious

– make sure your system is automatically scanning all PDFs and other email attachments for viruses, spyware, and malware

Internet threats will be covered here in more detail within an upcoming blog post, but at the most basic level:

– install a firewall to deny unauthorized access to your company’s wired and wireless networks

– encrypt your Wi-Fi network and require a password to use it; you can also ‘hide’ your Wi-Fi network so its name won’t pop up in the list of available wireless networks when strangers are surfing for one nearby

Mobile devices
Laptops, smartphones and tablets can get lost, stolen or hacked, so be sure to use passwords and encryption to secure them. You should also:

– consider using a mobile device management system that can remotely track, monitor, lock and wipe your devices

– formulate and enforce a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy at your company

Storage devices
Portable flash drives, USB sticks and storage discs can spread viruses and malware from one PC, tablet or laptop to another. You can mitigate this by:

– setting your computers to automatically do a security scan on any disc or peripheral they come into contact with

– using cloud computing so your company data can be backed up off-site

Outdated software
Older versions of software programs aren’t as secure as current ones, so have a look at:

– updating your programs or moving to cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings which are automatically updated online

–  making sure your PCs and laptops are set to automatically install operating system updates and security patches when they’re released

No matter how much technology we use to secure our IT, a lot of security ultimately comes down to human behaviour. Be sure to:

– create and enforce a BYOD policy and educate your staff about IT security threats and best practices. Talk with your staff about whether they’re using strong passwords and changing them regularly, downloading unauthorized applications to company computers, working on company data outside the office on unsecured Wi-Fi networks, or visiting unauthorized websites or social media sites at the office. This will offer you the opportunity to discuss best practices to remain secure.

The Bottom Line
This is by no means a complete list of every security risk out there. But it makes you stop and think about which parts of your IT network are most vulnerable as you dive into a full-fledged IT security strategy. You can also look for a product like Bell Total Protection, which conveniently and affordably offers you several key security features – such as firewalls, virus scans, phishing detection, data backup and encryption – all in one.

What security measures has your company taken to ensure you’re protected from the types of risks we covered in this post? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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