How common are threats to IT security?
The 2020 Cyber Security Breaches Survey confirmed that two in five UK businesses had reported a cyber-attack or data breach in the previous 12 months. These are a real threat to any business operation and its customer relations and will often lead to a financial burden due to lost revenue, the cost of recovering from a breach in IT security and even a hefty fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Devices, networks and data can all be compromised in an IT security attack and every point of your IT infrastructure could be put at risk. The criminals could even still have access to your systems for a future attack.
5 actions to improve your IT security
- Conduct an IT security risk assessment
Identifying vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure across the entire organisation must be the starting point from which to build. Unless you step back and take an objective view of your current security measures and procedures, taking time to understand your organisation’s future needs, then changes to your cybersecurity could be a waste of money, time and effort.
And don’t forget to include external partners in your risk assessment; their own vulnerabilities could weaken your own defences.
- Keep your infrastructure up to date
Your IT infrastructure incorporates hardware, software, and networks. Any part of this infrastructure that isn’t up to date is at greater risk of being exploited by hackers.
It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security because you set up automatic updates, but this is only part of the picture. Hardware also needs to be updated. Operating systems may not be updated on old hardware and new equipment will carry the latest technologies to improve protection.
When the time comes to replace hardware, make sure you aren’t exposed to risk at this point by dumping old devices that still hold sensitive information.
3. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
With an increasing number of employees working remotely, the use of VPN, by which a group of computers are connected over a public network to form a private network, has become increasingly important for ensuring that distance doesn’t cause a security risk. VPN also enables secure browsing in public wi-fi hotspots, which, as we work from more varied and public locations, offers a potential opportunity for hackers to gain entry.
VPN also allows you to control who has access to what, by authenticating only users with the required authority to access different levels of data.
- Keep your knowledge up to date
As the security threats around us evolve we must also learn to keep adapting to the changing IT security environment. What may have worked a year ago may not today. Keeping abreast of what is available on the market, how products are adapting and how these fit in with your IT security strategy will help you to keep one step ahead of the cybercriminals.
If you don’t have the specialist expertise in-house, you can work with an external IT support partner to help you understand what options are available to best suit your needs. Never be panicked into buying the latest product thinking it must be the most secure solution. Nobody wants to spend money they don’t need to and working with an IT partner is an effective way to keep your IT defences up to date, allowing you to focus on your core business.
- Review policies and procedures
By keeping policies and procedures up to date, you are making sure you have systems in place to minimise the risk from and impact of IT security threats. They should clearly state your organisation’s approach to IT security and the role everyone should play to ensure good security. Everyone in your organisation has a role to play; it’s critical that everyone is made aware of this and receive regular training to spot risks and know their responsibilities, particularly when they work from home.
Through Syn-Star’s Top 8 Cyber Security Tips You Must Know, you can build good practices into your organisation that protect your systems and data. Make IT security an ongoing element of your own good housekeeping rather than a reaction to an attack, because by then the damage has already been done.