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The ugly side of technology: How to protect your firm from cybercrime

Published on 30 August 13
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The ugly side of technology: How to protect your firm from cybercrime - Image 1
One of the first rules of survival in an unforgiving market place is to arm oneself with the right equipment for defense. Businesses are not known to take threats lightly. They take out elaborate insurance packages to cover their bases; they background check their employees to weed out bad apples; they install hidden CCTV cameras to secure premises and keep an eye on the employees; and they conduct periodic safety risk assessments at workplace.

But when it comes to IT security, many of them display a borderline couldnât-care-less attitude, which is not just surprising but also counter-productive in an increasingly wired world.

It doesnât matter if you are a startup or an established giant, you cannot afford to underestimate the risk that cybercrimes poses. Cybercriminals donât care whether you have a big pot of money or small; they are always on the lookout for loopholes, typically found in the IT security systems (or lack thereof) of companies and individuals.

With that said, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself from cybercrime, committed by rogue employees or outsiders. Here are a few ideas to help you.

What can a virus do?

A lot, and we all know it. If you have been using a computer for any length of time youâd know the risk of leaving your PC unprotected, especially if you access the Internet on a regular basis.

Itâs safe to assume that businesses would understand the risk involved in eschewing anti-virus software as they have a lot to lose if their computers get attacked.

But research tells us otherwise. More than 50% of small- to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. have been victims of a virus or a malware attack. They also happen to be fully aware of the extent of damage such attacks can cause. But despite that many do not deem it necessary to equip their computer systems with good virus-, malware-, and spyware-fighting software.

The reason?

They donât think it is worth their time investing in security. Why? Because they donât think they are big enough for cybercriminals to bother about. This mentality is worrying.

While we do not expect IT firms to be this indifferent to the security of their own systems, we donât have the exact numbers regarding how many of them take full cognizance of such threats.

In the event that your own firm has a lackadaisical attitude toward security, we highly recommend installing the best anti-virus products available in the market. Having good firewalls in place will also prevent nefarious elements from accessing the data on your server. It will be worth every penny you invest in it.

Formulate a strong IT security policy

You need some excellent safeguards in place if you want your IT infrastructure to remain out of harmâs way at all times. Get your management to create a proactive policy that identifies all the potential risks and presents a solution for them. Earmark a budget for this (and preferably, do not cut corners in this respect).

Protect sensitive data

Zero in on the most important or sensitive data your company owns and determine how to protect it. Destroy older records that are of no use anymore. Encrypt personal or other critical data, whether in form of emails or stored files. Create back-up for all the important data.

Be discreet about granting privileges

Be particular about which employees you grant privileges to access the important information on your server. Only share companyâs bank details with the select few and set it so that the account cannot be accessed without your authorization.

Encourage your employees to frequently update their passwords and get your IT team to disable download features on employeesâ workstations unless pertinent to your line of work.

Keep the software updated

Identifying loopholes and fixing them is an ongoing process for anti-virus and spam-fighting companies. They keep releasing newer security patches to fix vulnerabilities in previous versions. Make it a point to download them and always run your computers on the latest security software.

Monitor your employeesâ social media rants

Loose lips sink ships, as the WWII saying goes. Nobody wants blabbermouth employees who canât keep a thing to themselves. While itâs all well and good having your employees talk good about you, they may as easily let out some sensitive information regarding your company. If you have any of your employees on your social network, keep an eye on them.

Also set up Google alerts in your companyâs name (thatâs not acting precious, only smart). That way, each time a disgruntled or careless someone reveals inside information about your company, you will be in the loop before long.

Learn from hardened cyber criminals how to protect your IT assets

Read up on the modus operandi of cyber criminals and how they choose their targets. Visit the FBI site to learn about the cyber fugitives on their wanted list and pay close attention to the kind of crime they are wanted for.

You may gain an insight or two about the loopholes you need to plug in your own IT security.





















































The ugly side of technology: How to protect your firm from cybercrime - Image 1

One of the first rules of survival in an unforgiving market place is to arm oneself with the right equipment for defense. Businesses are not known to take threats lightly. They take out elaborate insurance packages to cover their bases; they background check their employees to weed out bad apples; they install hidden CCTV cameras to secure premises and keep an eye on the employees; and they conduct periodic safety risk assessments at workplace.

But when it comes to IT security, many of them display a borderline couldnât-care-less attitude, which is not just surprising but also counter-productive in an increasingly wired world.

It doesnât matter if you are a startup or an established giant, you cannot afford to underestimate the risk that cybercrimes poses. Cybercriminals donât care whether you have a big pot of money or small; they are always on the lookout for loopholes, typically found in the IT security systems (or lack thereof) of companies and individuals.

With that said, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself from cybercrime, committed by rogue employees or outsiders. Here are a few ideas to help you.

What can a virus do?

A lot, and we all know it. If you have been using a computer for any length of time youâd know the risk of leaving your PC unprotected, especially if you access the Internet on a regular basis.

Itâs safe to assume that businesses would understand the risk involved in eschewing anti-virus software as they have a lot to lose if their computers get attacked.

But research tells us otherwise. More than 50% of small- to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. have been victims of a virus or a malware attack. They also happen to be fully aware of the extent of damage such attacks can cause. But despite that many do not deem it necessary to equip their computer systems with good virus-, malware-, and spyware-fighting software.

The reason?

They donât think it is worth their time investing in security. Why? Because they donât think they are big enough for cybercriminals to bother about. This mentality is worrying.

While we do not expect IT firms to be this indifferent to the security of their own systems, we donât have the exact numbers regarding how many of them take full cognizance of such threats.

In the event that your own firm has a lackadaisical attitude toward security, we highly recommend installing the best anti-virus products available in the market. Having good firewalls in place will also prevent nefarious elements from accessing the data on your server. It will be worth every penny you invest in it.

Formulate a strong IT security policy

You need some excellent safeguards in place if you want your IT infrastructure to remain out of harmâs way at all times. Get your management to create a proactive policy that identifies all the potential risks and presents a solution for them. Earmark a budget for this (and preferably, do not cut corners in this respect).

Protect sensitive data

Zero in on the most important or sensitive data your company owns and determine how to protect it. Destroy older records that are of no use anymore. Encrypt personal or other critical data, whether in form of emails or stored files. Create back-up for all the important data.

Be discreet about granting privileges

Be particular about which employees you grant privileges to access the important information on your server. Only share companyâs bank details with the select few and set it so that the account cannot be accessed without your authorization.

Encourage your employees to frequently update their passwords and get your IT team to disable download features on employeesâ workstations unless pertinent to your line of work.

Keep the software updated

Identifying loopholes and fixing them is an ongoing process for anti-virus and spam-fighting companies. They keep releasing newer security patches to fix vulnerabilities in previous versions. Make it a point to download them and always run your computers on the latest security software.

Monitor your employeesâ social media rants

Loose lips sink ships, as the WWII saying goes. Nobody wants blabbermouth employees who canât keep a thing to themselves. While itâs all well and good having your employees talk good about you, they may as easily let out some sensitive information regarding your company. If you have any of your employees on your social network, keep an eye on them.

Also set up Google alerts in your companyâs name (thatâs not acting precious, only smart). That way, each time a disgruntled or careless someone reveals inside information about your company, you will be in the loop before long.

Learn from hardened cyber criminals how to protect your IT assets

Read up on the modus operandi of cyber criminals and how they choose their targets. Visit the FBI site to learn about the cyber fugitives on their wanted list and pay close attention to the kind of crime they are wanted for.

You may gain an insight or two about the loopholes you need to plug in your own IT security.

This blog is listed under IT Security & Architecture Community

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