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3 ways to improve your company’s security that you may not have known about

Protecting your business from security threats isn’t as simple as good password management and using anti-malware software.

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As a business owner, you’re aware you should take some basic steps to protect your network and data. You’ve installed anti-malware programs on every machine and implemented strong password rules. You’re also using a firewall and have told your employees about phishing attempts.

Despite these precautions and measures, you think there might be more things you can do to improve your company’s security. You’re right. Cybercriminals are a determined bunch, and it seems that more organizations are becoming targets. To fight them, you need a wide range of measures to keep your company’s resources secure.

Some of these measures you may not have heard about yet. Wi-Fi management tools, resource classification, and proper disposal methods are among them.   

1. Use Wi-Fi Management Tools

A small business Wi-Fi solution can do more than provide internet access to your employees and guests. It can give you enhanced security options and network management tools that are based on artificial intelligence. Instead of wondering whether someone is targeting your network, you’ll be able to see a record of those events. A complete Wi-Fi solution will also block threats to your network’s security and detect questionable activities.   

These can include malware disguised as ads and popups, in addition to sites that redirect to phishing schemes. Management tools will also block harmful executables that can embed into innocent-looking websites or online services supported with ads. Examples include email, video content, and music platforms.

Blocking and quarantining abilities are not simply limited to online sites and platforms. With built-in network management tools, you’ll be able to monitor and restrict devices that connect to your Wi-Fi. Security functions can identify whether these devices that attempt to connect belong to customers, employees, or the organization.

The software’s AI automatically restricts devices it determines are — or you designate as — unwanted. You can also set up limits for online and internet-related activities according to network segments. Devices that connect to your public or guest Wi-Fi won’t be able to access sites identified as malicious or questionable. You’ll be able to prevent employee devices from going online at all during work hours if you wish.

Other security features of business Wi-Fi solutions use your company’s connected devices to detect suspicious movements. You’ll have the option to configure these features to activate after hours to alert you about potential physical security breaches. Create employee profiles so you know who is at work and whether their personal devices are connected. From there, you can grant temporary or ongoing online access to those devices, depending on business needs.    

2. Review and Classify Your Resources

An often-overlooked way to improve your company’s security is by taking stock of your data and network resources. By knowing what equipment connects and how often, you can begin to classify it according to sensitivity. You may determine the four laptops your employees use are moderately sensitive, meaning they should have some access restrictions. However, your main network servers are highly sensitive and should have the most stringent access limits.

The same system can be set up for the data your company stores and uses. Consider all data that’s retrievable from network folders and devices. You’ll also want to check equipment like hard drives and other storage assets that may no longer be online. You may have assets and devices that your company uses infrequently. Because of this intermittent use, these devices could require urgent software and security patch updates.

After you’ve audited and classified your devices and data, it’s time to enact the least-privilege principle. This means that people, network tasks, and software programs should only have access to what they need to function. A member of the IT staff, for instance, needs more permissions than a member of the marketing department. IT employees often need administrative access to install and troubleshoot software.

Workers whose job functions don’t involve troubleshooting shouldn’t have admin permissions to install software. Likewise, proprietary or sensitive customer data should be encrypted and only stored in network folders if necessary. Otherwise, you could save this data in offline storage devices that only employees who need this information can access.

Networked resources, including applications and portals, can also be configured with limited privileges. A web content management portal is an internal resource cybercriminals might target. By limiting what content and functions accounts can manipulate, you’ll prevent unauthorized users from destroying or accessing highly sensitive resources. This could end up saving your business from a serious data breach.

3. Practice Proper Disposal Methods

As time goes by, your business is going to want to upgrade its hardware and network equipment. You’ll either need to completely retire and dispose of devices or prepare them for donation to another organization or individual. Data and applications left on hard drives and mobile devices like tablets can leave your company vulnerable to security threats.

People outside your organization will be able to access your data, as well as credentials stored in applications like password managers. Software connected to cloud-based resources may expose sensitive information and give access privileges to someone never employed by your company. These are a few reasons why proper disposal methods are necessary before you recycle old computer equipment.

Some businesses prefer to hire a security company or someone who specializes in electronics disposal. However, there are practices you can carry out yourself that some of these companies may use. These include backing up any data you need and using programs to wipe or delete all information from hard drives. Even after wiping drives and storage devices, many organizations will destroy or crush them to prevent data retrieval.

Destroying the portions of hard drives that read and write to the disc removes any possibility of data theft. Sometimes wiping drives doesn’t stop more sophisticated cybercriminals and the programs they use from retrieving information. This is because erasing data overwrites what was there. If those sectors of the drive haven’t been written over enough times, advanced software can restore them.

If you plan on donating older machines, use programs that overwrite existing data multiple times. Restoring devices to factory settings with applications that remove installed programs, delete browser histories, and overwrite data is a must. Once the device or equipment is out of your hands, it’s impossible to control who will use it. You’ll want to ensure it no longer contains data that can put your company’s security at risk.      

Conclusion

Protecting your business from security threats isn’t as simple as good password management and using anti-malware software. To block unauthorized users, you’ve got to think of all the ways they can gain access.

This includes customers’ and employees’ devices, unrestricted data and programs, and disposed or recycled equipment. Implementing more comprehensive security practices and tools will put you in an even stronger position to ward off costly cyberattacks.                        

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