By John Harris
Let’s get right to it: cybersecurity threats aren’t going away any time soon. They’re only becoming more sophisticated. As we’ve seen in 2015, cyberattacks and data breaches ran rampant and affected millions of Americans, spreading across industries such as healthcare, government and financial services.
For companies using digital documents and e-signatures, it’s not difficult to map your best route to security. Using independent e-signatures (or digital signatures) – with comprehensive audit trails, robust identity authentication methods and tamper-evident technology – is the best way to fortify these digital documents and signatures.
But holistic cybersecurity should take all your IT systems into account. Here are some tips to help navigate the ever-changing digital security landscape in 2016.
Evaluate the systems you already maintain. Countless businesses still use software that was installed when they originally opened. But here’s the thing—vendors hardly ever produce complete builds of software any more. These days, companies have trouble keeping software up-to-date and are unsure of security needs.
For example, as of January 2016, Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer 8, 9 or 10 on desktop Windows operating systems. This is a big issue for businesses, since many have not upgraded their systems to Windows 7 or 8 because it means they would also have to upgrade Internet Explorer, according to Tech Times. Companies must now run a more modern browser to ensure regular security updates and technical support.
Your IT department (or the IT you may be outsourcing) oversees a lot of different things, but it’s important for them to focus on how to keep your business secure, which means understanding all aspects of security through-and-through. Encourage your tech staff to attend regular training sessions and to work toward the variety of security training certifications that are available for IT professionals.
Don’t forget about your vendors. Your vendors must be able to offer quick and painless product updates so that you feel comfortable enough with regular maintenance. Think about what each vendor offers—are you using the features to the fullest?
It’s great to see more and more companies offering two-factor authentication with their products, and we hope to see that become a mandatory staple, rather than an optional feature.
Stay vigilant. Just three men conducted the largest cyberbreach in history: the 2014 JP Morgan attack. From 2012 to mid-2015, 100 million records were stolen. This (and plenty of other breaches) makes the case that regular security maintenance is no longer an optional line item for a company. A system is only as secure as its least secure component.
We may no longer see the quintessential email scam from a “Nigerian prince,” but we see a new kind of hack that appears to come from your friend’s email address. Today’s cybercrimes are refinements to the old favorites, and it’s crucial to always keep a watchful eye.
Take a few moments to evaluate that email you’re about to open or that app you’re thinking about downloading. If it looks funky, it probably is. Hate to change your corporate email password every 30-90 days? We do, too, but it’s critical, as email opens the door to a hacker’s dream world of private information.
We rely so much on the systems we use each and every day, but we must remember their vulnerability. Digital security issues are always a moving target, but with a proactive IT team and reliable vendors set in place, we can take big steps forward to a more secure online environment.
John Harris is the Chief Technology Officer at SIGNiX, a Chattanooga-based electronic signature solutions provider that makes signing documents online safe, secure, and legal for any business. SIGNiX offers the only independently verifiable cloud-based digital signature solution, which combines workflow convenience with superior security. Learn more about what makes SIGNiX different at www.signix.com.