There isn’t a day that goes by without mention in the news of companies losing information because of digital breaches. Businesses not only lose financially but sometimes never regain the trust of their customers. With nation-states now getting into hacking and federal government sites unable to protect themselves from any siege, how can a business hope to stay secure? Here are a few quick tips for achieving just that.
Develop password standards.
Don’t rely on default password protocols for signing into websites that your company either uses or develops. Instead, create robust standards that your programmers can then enforce via software. Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters long and consist of upper and lowercase letters as well as at least one number. All employees should change their passwords at least every six months so old passwords by former employees cannot be reused.
Turn away from the windows.
If any of your computer screens that face public areas, such as lobbies, or windows, turn them away to face the wall. Otherwise, outsiders can record keystrokes or even use high-power cameras and telescope to spy on monitors that face windows even on higher floors. If necessary, install special screen protectors that confine viewing of a screen only to the person directly sitting in front of it.
Install robust security software.
You can’t monitor your devices 24 hours a day to look for issues but a program can. Install robust desktop and mobile threat prevention software. It’s easy enough to search for suitable apps online. Look for ones with plenty of positive reviews and that can detect and prevent intrusions via downloads, networks, apps, emails, and websites.
Keep track of company devices.
Make sure that you know what devices are currently being used by your employees. The best way to track that is to have everyone sign out any equipment that they take from a locked room. When an employee is done with the device, he or she has to sign it back into the room. Only one or two employees should have the key to the room, so they can control what items go in and out.
Don’t allow the use of company devices on untrusted networks.
As convenient as it is to use the free Wi-Fi at your local coffee house or commuter train, such networks offer no security. Forbid the use of company devices or the access of company websites on such networks. Allow company property only to be used on the office network or networks offered by paid data plans.
Eliminate unused devices.
When smartphones, tablets, or anything with a memory is no longer used, destroy it. That may seem like such a waste but no matter how thoroughly you erase such devices, they may still contain traces of information that can be used against you. The safest way to eliminate any possibility that they may be stolen is to destroy them. If you don’t want to perform this task yourself, do a Google Search on companies who specialize in this task by looking under “equipment destruction.”
Secure the paperwork.
Just because you rely primarily on devices to manage information, that doesn’t mean that you can ignore paperwork. If anything related to your business gets printed on hardcopy, that output and its information remain vulnerable to theft. Secure permanent printouts inside locked file cabinets located inside locked rooms with limited access. When it’s time to eliminate this paperwork, don’t just throw it in the trash. Invest in a crosscut shredder to turn any paper that has to leave the office into unreadable bits of confetti.