By David Kidd
Some estimates predict that more people are expected to shop online this Cyber Monday than visit brick and mortar stores on Black Friday – offering an opportunity to build customers and brand value through a smooth e-commerce experience, or the potential to lose trust through security breaches. Now is a good time to review what you have, how it can be improved and to remind your employees about the personal-use rules in place.
1. Firewall: the first line of defense. Firewalls act as an intermediary between your computer and the outside world. Check that it’s on. Different operating system versions have different procedures for enabling firewall protection. Network administrator will occasionally disabled a firewall and neglect to put it back into service.
Anti-virus protection software must be updated with the latest virus definitions to be most effective. Do so with every computer in your business.
Assess the state of firewall rules. Over time redundant, conflicting and unused rules can accumulate and create havoc for effective firewall management.
2. Patch-work. Data thieves are increasingly targeting SMBs. It’s the path of least resistance compared to larger companies. Keep your operating system, security software and applications current with security updates.
3. Hidden from view. Secure and hide your WiFi network by configuring your wireless access point or router so that it doesn’t broadcast the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Require passwords for access. The administrator’s password that came with the device when you bought it? Change it.
4. What’s the password? Require employees to change passwords frequently for each program, computer and account. Passwords should be unique and strong, but easy to remember. Laptops, smart phones, tablets and flash drives that contain confidential information should be encrypted and password-secured.
5. Assume trouble. A data loss can cripple a small business. Review your data back-up strategy, the frequency with which important business data and information is copied, and where it is stored.
6. Shop Securely. Remind employees to only shop with retailers they know and trust. Web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox display a padlock icon to indicate that the website is secure; it also displays https:// in the address bar.
7. Be clear. If you allow it, monitor it. If you don’t allow it, block it.
Concentrated network use, e.g. Cyber Monday, can drag down performance by straining bandwidth. Monitor bandwidth and traffic, as well as user workstation activity and behavior. Communicate the rules to employees and flag abuses when they happen.
David Kidd is the director of quality assurance and compliance for Peak 10, a cloud computing solution for businesses.