Strong security is crucial in today’s high-threat IT environment, regardless of the size of your business.  In case of a breach, your business risks downtime and loss of company assets, not to mention potential damage to your reputation and a litigation risk.

To make sure your business tech team has IT security covered, here are 4 essential technical options to help protect your network and another 4 recommended options for you to consider.

Essential:

Email Security and Spam Control

Use business-grade email services, such as Office 365, that have “built-in” features to reduce the chances of harmful messages making it into your Inbox or Junk Mail.  Consider using additional spam-filtering software to reduce your risk further.  Your IT provider can help.

Managed Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware

While the destructive results of viruses and malware can be almost the same, fighting them requires very different tools.  Anti-virus and anti-malware are designed to detect threats differently, so you need both for a more secure network.

With multiple new threats emerging daily, gone are the days when it’s enough to upgrade your anti-virus or anti-malware whenever you get around to it.  Use managed anti-virus and anti-malware that’s updated in real-time as new threats are detected and mitigated.

Managed Firewall

The firewall controls what’s allowed in to your network from the Internet, along with allowing your traffic to get out.  It’s the last technical layer of defense between your network and the Internet.

For businesses, our choice is a business-grade threat management appliance that’s designed to identify dangerous traffic before it infects your network.  Like managed anti-virus and anti-malware, a managed firewall is updated regularly to mitigate new threats as they emerge to better protect your network.

Technology Use Policy and Staff Training

The greatest risk to your network comes from the person sitting at the keyboard.  Make sure your staff knows how to be safe working online and when handling emails.  They need to be able to identify suspicious emails and knows when it’s unsafe to click.  Define the policies that work best for your company and train your staff.

Recommended:

Two-factor Logon Authentication

This requires the user to have two means of identification before logging on.  One is usually something memorized, such as a password, and the other is a physical token, such as a card or fob, that’s used to provide an additional security code.  Talk with your IT provider to learn more.

Web Filtering, DNS Blocking

This goes one step better than anti-virus and anti-malware because it can help stop the action even if the user clicks on an infected email or web advertisement (also known as “malvertising”).  It will block the “click” before the action is completed, preventing users from accessing known infected sites.

Encryption

Encryption protects data on hard drives from unauthorized user access.  Many current operating systems support encryption, and more are soon to follow.  Remember that using encryption can add another step to opening documents, so be prepared to exercise patience in the name of security.

Secure Asset Recycling and Drive Destruction

This usually includes chain-of-custody proof from pickup to destruction of hard drives and removal and recycling of other computer equipment.  Secure asset recycling and drive destruction are especially important in highly-regulated businesses.

If your business needs help managing IT security, contact CRU Solutions.