How many printers, scanners, copiers, computers, laptops, webcams, tablets, and smartphones are in your office right now? Every one of them is a ripe target for hackers.
So, if you truly counted, and I know you did because what better way to spend your already limited time, then that’s how many points of penetration the cyber-thieves of the world have to gain access to your network (and your data). Oh, and if you have any videoconferencing systems, smart TVs, or DVRs, go ahead and tack that on to your list of hacker-vulnerable equipment.
This raises the obvious security issue of course, but also the issue of productivity - because, productive can anyone be if the office comes to halt because the entire network is down?
How Not To Be A Sitting Duck:
- Change the Passwords. All the passwords on the devices that come with a factory set, default password must be changed to a secure one. Secure meaning, don’t change it to a family member’s birthday, your children’s initials, or your anniversary date (no shame here, most of us are guilty of this). The password has to be strong so be sure it’s unique - filled with a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers - and unrelated to personal information.
- Data Encryption. By encrypting important data, it's ensured that if you or another employee loses a flash drive (accidentally leaves it sitting on the table of the local Starbucks) or someone steals it, whenever someone attempts to access the data they won’t be able to read it because of the encryption.
- Mobile Security. All those smartphones and tablets you counted earlier, they’re connected to the office network and need to be secured. All employees using their devices with the office systems should be required to have a complex password, not a 4-digit PIN. Some companies are incorporating apps that require a more complex password in order to ensure the protection of business information.
- Free Wi-Fi! Oh, My! Beware of free Wi-Fi. Anytime an employee hops on free or public Wi-Fi at a customer’s office or a coffee shop to access the Internet, they become a security risk. This problem is a simple solve. Require that everyone use a VPN (virtual private network) or a personal hotspot through their phone and avoid being a target.
- Create Awareness. Talk to your people. Make sure everyone in the office is aware of the vulnerabilities and the role they play in protecting the business and its data. Create clear security policies and give them guidelines so they know what is expected of them (like not visiting unsafe websites and clicking on Facebook ads or putting their passwords on sticky notes and sticking them to their computers).
- Layered Security. Protect your office equipment and data by using antivirus software, intrusion detection devices, personal firewalls, and monitoring to screen for attempted security breaches, attacks or unauthorized intrusion. And keep unwated emails out of employees' inboxes by using spam filters.
How Do You Know Which Devices Are Vulnerable?
Obviously in order to secure your business and sensitive data you have to know your points of weakness. If you don’t know which office equipment or devices are at risk, this becomes a bit challenging. Bring in a professional for this. Have them administer a security audit of your IT infrastructure to pinpoint your holes and determine what you need to keep the cyber-thieves out.
Don’t lose time and productivity due to malicious hackers. Follow these basic security measures to keep your office up and running and your business (and its data) safe.