business network security

Evolving your business security strategy

In this day and age, its not so much the robbers with a swag bag, striped suit and a mask that you need to worry about. Its the ones making their way into your business without ever stepping foot near your property.

As IT security experts we know how crucial a constantly evolving business security strategy is, so here are 6 tips to help you get started:

1. Don’t use the same password for everything.

It sounds obvious to protect high value accounts with their own unique “lock”, but in these days of password burn out, it is all too easy for businesses to get overwhelmed. Therefore it is easy to end up using the same password for multiple accounts.

We are not talking about setting up your hotmail or Friends Reunited(!) accounts in 2002 with the same passwords, business accounts are somewhat more crucial and will be full of sensitive information. So make sure you vary passwords across your business accounts so even if one does unfortunately get hacked, its not a free pass to the rest of your information.

2. Check your firewall doesn’t have open ports.

Open ports aren’t just easy access for an online criminal. Open ports are like leaving your safe open with a sign saying ‘Our guard dogs are on holiday’. Any opening in your network should be treated like you would on your premises and keep it secured.

3. Regularly change your passwords.

We’ve all seen the movies where hackers sit in front of a monitor rapidly tapping at a keyboard before the inevitable ‘I’m in’ and suddenly the world of code is theirs.

In reality a hacker is often more likely to do thorough research first to find possible leads e.g. a staff members name, check their Facebook for a child or pets name and try those.

We recommend that you set a set date each month, when everyone has to change their password. CNS can help implement this and advise on many other simple strategies to secure your business on and offline.

4. Use passwords with special characters.

This is a great way to increase password complexity. Using the standard alphabet (including caps) an 8 letter password will offer 53 trillion different combinations.

However, if you integrate special characters (e.g. “%”, “*”, ”^” etc) you then increase the number of combinations to over 722 trillion. If sounds like a simple thing but anything you can do to increase password complexity is worth it.

5. Utilise strong encryption on your wireless network.

Most people aren’t aware that it is possible for a mobile phone replicate an access point on a network and copy all the data travelling through it to an off-site location?

Even in general terms a wireless network is never very secure so encrypting your data is a must. It makes it virtually impossible for data to be used anywhere but where it’s meant to be.

6. Make regular off-site, encrypted backups.

Never think you are too big or small to be hit by hackers. From the local sole trader to some of the biggest companies in the world have been successfully hit by hackers. For all thier investment, thousands of customers from Sony’s Playstation network had personal information stolen and Apple’s iCloud a reputably safe place to store private photographs, was notoriously hit and pictures shared with the world.

To put it in to context, these companies have some of the most sophisticated protection available and still they were hit.

If the worst happens to you, which it might, having secure backups stored outside of your network means you can recover from it within a day rather than weeks. All of this can be automated so you never even need to know it’s happening.