Cyber attacks are increasing at an alarming rate, but what’s even more worrying is that when they hit, they hit hard – and usually at the computers where you and your staff are working.
In times of danger we must create a multi-layered defence!
Read on to find out what this means in the real world…
Limit the Impact of Attacks
If your computer users have administrator access, remove it. Without this access, it’s a lot more difficult for malware to compromise their machines.
I know some users insist they need higher access levels, and that they need be able to install software on their own computers, but just say “no”.
Allowing this type of access never ends well. Trust me. Leave it to your IT people to manage the deployment of software.
If you must allow users to install software or have the ability to make administrator level changes to their computers, have a separate account for them to do this.
Working with admin rights day-to-day is a definite no-no. Yes, that means you too. Not even I work with admin rights on my machine.
Plug Your Security Holes
Most businesses are using Microsoft or Apple operating systems on their machines. Even though both companies regularly release updates that fix security vulnerabilities, you will leave yourself exposed if you don’t keep your computers up-to-date with these patches.
If the thought of sorting out updates is more daunting than taking a meeting in your birthday suit (we’re exaggerating obviously!) then it is possible to configure your machines to automatically download and install these updates. The only problem is this can lead to further troubles as you risk changes being made that you are not ready for, or which lead to application problems. This is something you want to avoid at all costs!
The most effective solution is to have your IT team select which updates should be rolled out to your computers, then manage this process for you. This will ensure your computers are protected and will minimise the risk of any strange side-effects getting in the way of your business.
As operating systems get older they reach ‘end-of-life’ and go ‘out-of-support’. This means that the manufacturer is no longer providing security updates and you’ll need to get these computers replaced or upgraded. (Yes, that means those last few Windows XP machines you still have around!)
Of course, if you like having huge gaping holes in your network security, then by all means hang on to those mature machines. We don’t think you’ll take such unnecessary risks though…
Did you know that it’s not just operating systems that need security updates? All the applications you have on your machine such as Adobe Reader, Java, Flash, etc. create vulnerabilities if they’re not updated.
Be Safe – Use Protection
It may sound like some techy jargon term, but anti-malware software is a vital part of ensuring the security of your network. And yes, it is essential. And no, the free edition of AVG doesn’t do the job.
Think of anti-malware software as the white blood cells of your computer – a silent defence mechanism working day and night to detect and battle viruses.
But…just like anything, anti-malware software is about as much good as a condom with a hole in it if it’s out of date or isn’t working properly! Never risk anything; make sure someone who knows what they’re doing is managing this for you.
One more thing – it’s always better to double-up on your protection, and we recommend pairing Webroot with Malwarebytes.
Don’t Be Tricked By Your Inbox
The average person now receives 147 emails per day! While many of these will contain useful information like the ones we send (you’re welcome!), some naughty emails will be attempts to trick you into downloading malware or disclosing private information. Some of the messages might even contain attachments with malware inside.
To reduce the likelihood of such emails duping you and your staff, you should deploy an email security filter. This will have the added benefit of reducing the number of emails your team have to manually process, giving you a productivity boost at the same time. Bonus!
Don’t Be the Weakest Link
Whichever systems you deploy, people are the often the weakest link when it comes to cyber security.
Cyber security awareness training can be used to inform people about the likely threats so they can be alert to the dangers and alter their behaviour accordingly.
But even after training, smart people will still do silly things and click on links they shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s simply an instinctive response. For when this happens, you can use a service like OpenDNS Umbrella which works by identifying suspicious websites and blocking access. As an added benefit you can also use it filter access to websites based on categories.
So there you have it – several layers of threat-crushing defences which you can use to protect your business against the increasing rise of the cyber attack! If you want more information on how to implement these tips or you need a few pointers on where to go next, then get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
Stay safe fellow computer users!