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Updated: June 20, 2021
It’s no revelation that the world is becoming more dependent on technology, making the role of IT security more important than ever before. Many companies today are still storing data that is crucial to their day-to-day operations on their own servers or with third party vendors. It’s staggering how many personal records are stolen and the amount of data that is breached through point of sale systems, third party systems and unencrypted data - yet it’s the same systems that we have invested all our trust in to keep our data safe.
So the question is, how can we protect our crucial data? Apart from the laws written to discourage hackers, businesses need to be proactive and develop a multi-faceted IT security strategy. Here are four places to start:
Firewalls are the first line of defense against cyber threats such as malware and phishing attacks. They are often installed on the external perimeter of your network in order to sieve what comes in. Effective firewalls can keep harmful and unwanted files from penetrating your network. An emerging practice is to install additional internal firewalls that serve as a second line of defense incase malicious files are able to penetrate the outside wall.
Advanced firewalls and network routers are able to analyze incoming content in real time in order to effectively prevent malware from penetrating your network.
Emails have become one of the main channels through which malware, viruses and phishing messages penetrate an organization’s network. In fact, phishing has become a major way through which hackers are able to solicit information from members of your organization. It is therefore important to filter incoming emails and detect spam.
Secure and encrypted email channels should be used for communicating, and employees should be discouraged from using personal email accounts to handle sensitive company information.
Use Security Software
Security software applications have become a necessary component of IT security. It is no longer effective to simply filter URLS that Internet users in your company may navigate to. Effective security software should also be able to scan for malware, scan web traffic in real time, recognize the reputation of IP addresses, and prevent data leakage.
Security software should be comprehensive and have the ability to consolidate these essential security functions under a common umbrella that is easier to control.
Protect Wi-Fi Networks
Encrypting your Wi-Fi networks is an important way to maintain the safety of your network and prevent hackers from gaining access to your systems. An unsecured network can be penetrated and valuable information such as passwords and account information compromised.
WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) along with an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a best practice for securing your Wi-Fi networks. AES is an advanced level of encryption that protects data from when it is encrypted all through to the decryption phase. It is the same encryption system that is used by the federal government.
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