If you’re a business owner, you’re extra-vulnerable to hackers. That’s because hackers find businesses more lucrative targets, potentially accessing the personal information of hundreds of users instead of a single individual. The information provided by your customers, in terms of payment or other personal data, is up for grabs as well. Not to mention the company’s assets and proprietary information.
Businesses also face fines and potential penalties if certain information is breached. Laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA), carry stiff penalties should an organization be responsible for the breach of an individual’s personally identifiable information. Here are X must-have securities to keep your company’s users safe.
- A firewall. Operating systems typically have a default firewall, although you can change its specific settings to make it more secure. Firewalls act as a barrier to restrict unauthorized access to a network, based on a set of criteria (certain IP addresses, keywords, domain names and more) specified by an owner, IT professional or business. If the access attempt doesn’t meet trusted criterion, access is blocked. These configurations should be set up at every portal which connects to the internet.
- Antivirus protection.A malware blocker protects users from attacks via Trojans, worms, viruses and more potentially damaging intruders. While a blocker is able to prevent access to known threats, undetected and unidentified threats may still gain access.
- Antispyware protection. Spyware causes pop-ups and other unwanted software which can make your PCs run slow. Once spyware has gained access, it can be very difficult to remove. Antispyware can prevent access to spyware, but it must be updated regularly.
- Malware removal. When those unidentified threats get through, malware removal is an essential piece of the security puzzle. These sometimes come in conjunction with malware protection, but not always. Should malware pass by the blocker and breach your system, a malware removal tool can eliminate it.
- Secure Socket Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) for remote workers. This mechanism encrypts the data being sent from a virtual endpoint to the company, providing an added layer of protection for important data.
- A proxy. A proxy makes it difficult for cookies and other behavior-tracking devices to follow what your company and employees are researching and doing online. A proxy also hides your IP address.
- A script blocker. Krebs on Security points out that Java Script is a powerful language used to make Websites interactive. But it’s also a common entry point for hackers and malicious code, using codes disguised as Java updates to gain access. A script blocker allows users to select which sites are permitted to run scripts on the user’s access point. Some browsers come equipped with add-ons to make this process easier.
- A sound security policy. Even if you’ve taken every precaution to prevent security breaches, the online behavior of your employees can inadvertently create loopholes for hackers. Set firm guidelines for appropriate usage and the types of networks and Websites that are deemed safe. If your employees gain access to your network through the use of personal devices, take extra precautions to avoid malicious entry.
Security is an ever-evolving field. It’s not something you can set up once and never revisit, assuming that your network and personal data is safe. Hackers produce more sophisticated methods to gain access to otherwise secure networks every day, so start with the essentials and stay on top of changes and new recommendations to keep both your business and your employees safe.
Fergal Glynn is the Director of Product Marketing at Veracode data loss prevention tools, an award-winning application security company specializing in the prevention of sql injection attacks and other security breaches with effective risk assessment tools .