IT security is a vital consideration for any business because the integrity of internal systems and data, along with the reputation of the firm itself, hangs in the balance depending on the protective measures which are taken. Of course, you do not want to use security methods which might compromise productivity, so here are five pieces of advice to help business users work safely and efficiently using contemporary IT tools.
You can invest in all the firewall technology and data protection software in the world, but if the end users are not using adequately secure passwords, sensitive data might easily leak out of your business, either accidentally or through malicious actions.
It is often necessary for businesses to enforce a company-wide policy which outlines the correct ways to create strong, secure passwords which will stand up to brute-force attacks or simple guesses. Experts recommend that passwords are a minimum of eight characters long, with no complete words and a good mixture of upper and lower-case letters along with symbols and numbers where appropriate.
Encrypting data on an end-to-end basis will make sure that it is inaccessible to third parties when it is in transit. That means that emailing attachments to clients, colleagues and business partners will be more secure.
Encryption also needs to be applied to information stored on portable devices, whether this is a memory stick, mobile phone or laptop. Businesses can suffer great embarrassment if such a device is stolen or lost and then later found to have lacked suitable security measures to prevent unauthorised access.
Mobile security is something of a thorny issue, because the consumerisation of business devices means that employees will want to use their smart phones for both enterprise and personal purposes.
Thankfully, there are services such as BlackBerry Balance available for some of the most popular business smart phones. BlackBerry Balance allows you to segregate the business side of a smart phone from the personal usage, which means users can still enjoy the apps and other features without putting sensitive data at risk.
Functions such as copy and paste are restricted to ensure that improper use is not possible. In addition, the fact that personal and business information is kept separate will be good news for staff because they can use the phone as they please without feeling as if they are being monitored at all times.
It is often necessary to dictate precisely the type of user who has access to systems, whether they are hosted in-house or virtualised. Compartmentalising access to information and services will help businesses to better secure their IT systems against misuse. Most providers will be able to integrate this type of scalable restriction to access in order to allow only information pertinent to a particular person’s role to be accessible at a given time.
The power of cloud computing is coming into play in the fight for better IT security in businesses. If you use a public cloud platform then the burden of security will lie with the third-party provider, incentivising improvements in protection which might otherwise be impossible to achieve on your own budget.
Storing data in the cloud not only makes it accessible remotely from any web-enabled device, but you can also rely upon that access being restricted and monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the physical security of the hardware on which information is stored will be improved because no local set-up will be accessible and the cloud provider will once more be the guarantor of this type of safety, adding to your peace of mind.