Computer Security Day 2019 – Innovec’s Five Tips for Staying Safe!
At Innovec, we know that, unless like us you run an IT business, you don’t want to spend all your time worrying about IT.
For growing businesses,
managing technology without endless budget or resource can become a painful,
expensive and thankless task. You need to know that you are getting the most from what you have, the
systems you invest in improve things for
your team and your customers and that your business is safe from cyber threats.
At a time when it seems that the only thing moving faster than technology is legislation pertaining to the management of data, it is more important than ever to make sure that you understand, manage and protect all of the technology within your business.
This International Computer Security Day we have included a few helpful pointers to give you a starter for 10 for making sure your business is protected.
1. Ensure your systems and critical programs are on the latest version
Software vendors and app developers continually update their products to both ensure that users can take advantage of the latest enhancements in technology but also to keep their software safe from the ever-evolving approaches of hackers and malware.
When a product becomes unsupported it instantly becomes much more accessible and attractive to hackers. There have been a number of high profile cases in recent years which have been linked to unsupported software, perhaps most notably the ‘Wannacry’ virus which impacted thousands of NHS machines which were running Windows XP – an operating system which was 17 years old at the time.
We know that it can be daunting to upgrade, however, particularly when implemented by experts these processes have become much less disruptive and prove much more secure.
If you currently use Windows 7 – this will cease support in January 2020. You can read more from us on the “2020 Problem” here, alternatively contact us to discuss your options.
2. Don’t make assumptions and don’t ignore warnings – check your Anti-Virus and Firewalls
Everyone has anti-virus, right? Firewall? Sure! It’s just there when you buy a computer? Isn’t it? Even if it isn’t, you certainly have it and it’s definitely running, right?
There are a number of everyday scenarios which can lead to your anti-virus or firewall software failing to load or failing to run to its fullest potential. If you receive a notification that there may be a virus on your machine, or that there may be an issue with you firewall, don’t ignore it, speak to your IT support immediately and get it fixed.
Check your anti-virus and firewall now. Run a scan and make sure all services are running and that no viruses are detected. Ask your team to do the same and contact your IT support if you are unsure of anything.
A good IT partner should be proactively
monitoring your security software and providing reports and recommendations
based on your setup and activity. If they’re not, it may be time to review your
3. Be in control of your data and manage your backups
The mass availability of devices, apps and cloud technology has created a situation where almost every single action we carry out results in us creating or consuming data which can be accessed by malicious third parties if not managed properly.
Make sure you know what systems are being used in your business, where data is being processed by your team and your customers and ensure that this remains within agreed parameters and defined processes.
Backups are absolutely critical. In the event of a cyber-attack which corrupts your data, how many days could your business survive and retain customer trust when you do not have access to your data? Unfortunately, you often only find out that back-ups have failed when you need them the most.
At Innovec, in addition to automated reports and alerts, our team personally check every customer backup on a weekly basis to ensure that nothing has failed unexpectedly. This means that even in the absolute worst-case scenario your last available back up will always be within the last few days.
4. Remove Unused Programs
This is a combination of the points outlined in reference to knowing where your data is and keeping systems on the latest version. It can be really easy to download a free trial of software, an app that your friend recommended or just something which was needed as a one-off years ago. Every program presents an opportunity for someone to access your device, unused will become out of date, unsupported and could become a target.
If it is on your device and you don’t use it – get rid of it.
5. Engage with a proven partner
As we said at the top of this post – we know that you don’t want to spend your days worrying about IT. A good IT partner (like us!) should engage with you and your team to get more from your current setup and provide you with peace of mind that they are doing what they promised they would do.
If you are unsure about your IT setup or current support arrangement, ask them: When was our last successful/failed back up? When was the last update applied to our server/operating systems? What anti-virus do we use and why? If they can’t answer these quickly and convincingly it may be time to look around (at us!).
We are different from other IT providers. We know that for you, IT isn’t really about the systems you use in your business, it’s about your team, and your customers.
At a time when your customers expect great service, speed and reliability, you need the valuable people in your business to be engaged and capable of doing what you hired them to do, not losing time and momentum to avoidable tasks or processes.
We manage your IT, you run your business.