Resources Hub - Improve Your IT Security With These 7 Fundamental Methods

IT security isn’t always a business’s top priority when they think about spending money. They know it's essential, but to them, it seems like a vague, intangible matter they cannot see the benefit of.

When trying to increase security in your company, however, there are concrete areas you should consider improving upon to experience lasting safety and success.

What Is Data Security & How Can I Improve It?

Data security is a type of security in which computer systems, data files, and programs are protected from unapproved access by users. To strengthen data security, you can implement advanced encryption, access controls, and authentication measures.

Deploying multiple layers of security controls to protect against threats at various levels, as well as protecting data rather than just the perimeter, are both best practices for improving data security. Other ways to prevent security breaches include educating employees about the risks of mishandling sensitive data and encouraging them to be vigilant in handling that information. If a breach ever occurs (which it inevitably will), performing penetration tests on your network—uncovering vulnerabilities if present—and monitoring for signs that something is amiss are all important steps toward ensuring no damage is done.

What Are the Key Elements of Data Security?

Key elements of data security include:

  • Encryption: Encryption is often used to protect private data from unauthorized access. It scrambles data with algorithms and encryption keys, making it unreadable if appropriately deciphered by authorized users.
  • Access Control: Access control refers to the mechanisms and policies implemented to regulate and manage access to data and resources. It involves granting appropriate privileges and permissions to authorized individuals while denying access to unauthorized users.
  • Authentication: Authentication is proving a user's identity to a system. It involves using credentials such as usernames, passwords, biometrics (such as fingerprints), or tokens to ensure only legitimate users gain access.
  • Data Backup and Recovery: Data backup and recovery procedures are vital in ensuring the security of any organization's data. Recovery policies will minimize the impact of system failures or breaches on your business operations.
  • Security Software and Patches: Deploying and regularly updating security software, such as antivirus programs, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems, is essential for protecting against and detecting potential security vulnerabilities. Regularly applying patches and updates to these security tools helps to address any newly identified security vulnerabilities.
  • Employee Education and Awareness: Educating employees about data security risks and best practices is essential for maintaining a secure environment. Training employees on phishing awareness, password hygiene, and social engineering can help prevent human error and strengthen data security.
  • Monitoring and Incident Response: Implementing monitoring systems to detect suspicious activities and promptly respond to security incidents is crucial for data security. Monitoring network traffic, system logs, and user activities can help promptly identify and mitigate security breaches.

Actions for Improved Company Security

Test your security

The best way for companies to remain secure is to develop a testing program that ensures their systems and networks have been adequately secured. Of particular importance is remote testing. The only way to do this effectively is by scanning company IT continuously with third-party security scanners, which can be used to detect vulnerabilities before they are exploited. In addition to out-of-the-box compliance testing reviews, companies need to develop a more rigorous testing regime that can be followed during rapid business expansion.

This should include real-time network monitoring and reviews of security policies. The best way to do this is by working with experienced security consultants who will know what needs to be tested and precisely how it should be done.

Protect the data itself, not just the perimeter

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If a company has no data security policies and does not ensure its staff follows best practices, the network perimeter is a red herring. Protecting the data itself should be treated as more important than trying to keep attackers out of the network. This is because most successful security incidents happen after an attacker has gained a foothold inside a company's perimeter.

It is estimated that 85% of all security breaches involve some kind of insider threat. To ensure maximum security, companies should evaluate all devices and software before connecting them to the business network.

Pay attention to insider threats

Insider threats refer to actions by company employees who are authorized to access data but abuse their position for personal gain. This could be done by selling information or sending spam emails to customers using their work email accounts. Choose information security solutions that help you mitigate insider threat risk.

Organizations can minimize security risks by implementing clearly defined information-security policies, including training on inappropriate use of an organization's data. In addition, businesses must monitor their employees for unusual behavior that could signal an insider threat. Employees always constitute your most significant threat

Learn how to use MFA to provide digital identity authentication for your staff.

Always patch everything

Many security breaches do not result from problems with a company's systems or networks but happen because employees connect questionable devices and software into business networks without talking to IT first.

No matter what device or software you use, keeping it up-to-date with the latest security patches is key to reducing your attack risk. Any devices or software that access a business network should be secured before they are connected.

Encrypt all devices

This is vital because it is very easy for sensitive information to be lost if devices are stolen. Attackers can easily retrieve this data with the technology and skills necessary to crack encryption keys if this data is not encrypted. In terms of best practice, all devices should always use minimum encryption standards before they connect to company networks. This means essential data will remain secure even if a device is stolen. Additionally, email should be another encryption priority. 

Be wary of BYOD policies

Bring your device is a popular trend that encourages employees to select the hardware they want to use for work and connect it to company networks. This can be very convenient for companies because workers are more productive, but the problem is that they often choose devices that need to be more secure. This leaves the company's data vulnerable to attack, so organizations must be cautious before enabling BYOD policies.

Delete redundant data

One of the easiest ways to lose sensitive information is through old files that need to be adequately disposed of. This happens frequently because employees' desktops are often connected directly to each other and the network, making it difficult—and sometimes impossible—to maintain optimal security measures at all times. One way to improve this situation is by developing policies that define how long company data should be kept before it is deleted. In addition to this, companies should utilize file-level encryption software that can protect files even if they are misplaced or stolen.

This will help organizations make the most of their storage solutions by removing old data and ensuring that important information remains highly secure.

Keep Learning About Improving Your IT Security 

There are some simple, low-cost measures that organizations can take to make their IT systems more secure. These include patching everything, ensuring all devices are encrypted, limiting the risks posed by BYOD policies, and regularly testing security procedures.

These actions should help companies meet compliance standards and reduce the chances of unauthorized access to sensitive company data. Also, businesses can minimize their security risks by detecting system vulnerabilities before attackers do.

Organizations can make the most of their IT networks by minimizing downtime, maximizing productivity, and ensuring that all devices remain secure.

Hiring a cloud security engineer can assist with designing the proper cloud security policy for your organization, and a cloud consultant can assist with implementing the appropriate backup mechanism or service and general IT technical support issues.

  • Implementing a comprehensive email security system can help prevent advanced threats, such as targeted spear phishing and ransomware. 
  • By following these best practices, you can improve your email security posture to protect against cyberattacks and breaches.
  • Keep the integrity of your email safe by securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
  • Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.

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