What level of IT security do you have within your business? Do you know how safe your businesses information is? Are you aware of the measures you can put in place to protect your data?
In this article, we take a look at why IT security is increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, and what measures you could implement to keep your IT assets safe and secure.
Why is IT security important for your business?
Technology is constantly developing, providing businesses with more functionality, but with the threat of sophisticated malicious attacks becoming more common place, security should be at the front of businesses’ minds.
There are many reasons why this is important, from the heavy reliance businesses place on their IT systems to the trust they want to build with their customers. Here are some of the top reasons why businesses need to prioritise IT security:
- Customer Trust – If your website goes down due to security flaws, this will reduce trust people have with your brand.
- Secure Data – Data is now one of the most valuable assets to a business, so it’s important to keep it safe with good quality data security. For example, if you have an online store or online ordering, you need to keep your customers details and payments safe at all times.
- Minimise Down-Time – With the rapid development in technology, many companies now rely heavily on their IT systems. Without it, many businesses may be unable to function. This can cause huge problems, especially in the long term, with an effect on profitability.
What security measures can be implemented?
There’s much more to IT security than just understanding it. Addressing the issue can be much more complex. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on what systems you have in place, what data you store and many other factors. However, there are simple measures you can implement to keep your business as secure as possible. To get you started, here are 11 solutions you may want to consider:
- Security software – Make sure you have up-to-date and reliable security software installed to protect your business against any malicious attacks. This could include firewalls or anti-virus and anti-spyware software for example.
- Reliable backups – Make sure you take regular backups of your system. This protects you if any unauthorised person accesses your information and commits theft or misuse. A backup will allow you to get back up and running quickly. It’s good news for you if you use cloud-based systems too, as you should be able to quickly and easily perform a back-up, as regularly as you like.
- Emergency plans and procedures – Put worst-case-scenario plans and procedures in place to prevent your business being considerably affected in the event of an IT crisis. This will ensure you have minimal down-time while fixing issues that arise.
- Regular testing and maintenance – Make sure your IT teams regularly test your systems and maintain it to a high standard to prevent any future security breaches. This will help to improve the response time in the event of an incidence.
- Regularly report and assess – Make IT security a matter that is regularly reported on and assessed. This will keep it front of mind, plus, with this more proactive approach you are also likely to uncover security issues much earlier.
- Staff education – Make sure you educate staff on security, explaining how to keep your systems safe and what workers can do to help in their daily routines. Training should not only make staff aware of the risks, but also encourage them to incorporate levels of IT security into their daily work and projects.
- Clear BYOD policies – With BYOD comes complications around making sure your systems are kept safe. By setting a clear BYOD policy, you can keep your business much more secure with a focus on creating a strong network security.
- Clear cloud storage policies – Make sure you set clear policies around using online cloud storage services for work documents. Information security is important and setting policies will make sure staff are aware of what they can and can’t do, along with ways to keep data safe and secure.
- Clear and stringent password policies – Set out password policies for employees to follow, such as requiring a certain length or the inclusion of letters and numbers. Also make sure that everyone uses different passwords for different systems.
- Prioritise assets – Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your business assets. Set out which assets your business has that need protecting and order them based on their critical importance. You can then provide different levels of protection to each asset based on its importance, allowing businesses to focus more heavily on the assets that matter most.
- Clear knowledge – Is it important that everyone within the organisation, from employees (including IT staff) through to top-level managers, understand the associated legal issues relating to privacy, company data and other areas.
Unfortunately it’s simply not possible to eliminate all threats to security, but protection and prevention can even the playing field. The procedures you put into place may not always be enough to protect your assets from cyber attacks. Therefore, it is important for businesses to put a plan into place if such an incidence occurs.
IT security is important for all businesses, with security issues able to touch any process and function. It’s not enough for IT teams to be tackling the issues alone; they need everyone to be on board, including CEOs and other managers. With contemporary BYOD and multi-device policies, security can become an extremely complex matter, whatever the size of your business. However, because of security fears, this is therefore delaying businesses adoption of BYOD and cloud-based services, which can unfortunately stunt business growth and innovation.
With the New Year ahead of you, make sure your senior management team gives you the backing to strive to do more for IT security in 2015 to protect critical information and your systems, so your business can continue operating effectively.
There is lots of advice out there about IT security, however with its increasing complexity and the scale and impact of the situation, it may be worthwhile to consult an IT company. Such professionals will be able to provide expert advice and make sure your IT security solution is tailored to your specific requirements, so you have everything covered.
What security measures do you have in place in your business? Is there any that are not on our list? Tweet us @SaxonsIT.
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