Keep your data safe

Six techniques to keep your data safe
If you're connected to the internet, IT risks increase significantly. With some key precautions, you can keep that data safe.

What are the threats?
Computer viruses: These are created to infect your system. They can destroy data and disable your systems.
Spyware: This sends details of your internet browsing habits to an online server. It can also record information you enter online.
Phishing: Fake emails and websites posing as legitimate organisations.
Trojans: Harmful pieces of software which appear to be useful, but actually cause damage.
Spam: Unsolicited bulk mail, often containing offensive and illegal content.

Technique 1: Security software
A security suite will include all the key protection you need.
A suite should include virus and Trojan protection, spyware protection and a firewall.
Set up the software so it scans on a routine basis.
The software should be set so your employees cannot disable it.
Only use security software from reputable companies. Visit www.getsafeonline.org for established brands.
If you have a server, a hardware firewall is essential. at minimum, install a software firewall on every computer in your business.
Set your security software to check for updates at least once a day.

Technique 2: Software control
Software from outside your system can create a security risk.
Ensure only designated employees install and carry out regular software audits.
As a director, you can be prosecuted and fined if your company uses pirated software.
Install software updates as soon as possible when released. Most can do this automatically.

Technique 3: access control
Set up the network so employees can only access the parts of the system they need.
Establish password control procedures and change these on a routine basis with an expiry date.
Promptly remove accounts of former employees.
If you allow remote access, a virtual private network (VPN) is the most secure.
Control points of entry; ensure material entering your system is automatically checked for viruses.
Make sure wireless networks are locked down.

Technique 4: Backups
You can back flash drives up onto removable media, like DVD-ROMs.
Online backup services are available, which are very convenient. But make sure the company is trustworthy and established.
Set up a procedure for taking partial and complete backups.
Make sure one staff member is responsible for this process.
Regularly test your backup procedures, every three months if possible.
If you lack in-house expertise, bring in a security consultant.

Technique 5: Physical Security
Isolate your most important hardware.
Be aware of the risks posed by unforeseen events and natural disasters, such as water on hardware and fires.
Issues employees with plain laptop bags or sleeves, rather than prominent branded bags.
Do not allow employees to store sensitive data on their own computers, keep it on your server.
Consider encrypting the hard drives of laptop PCs.

Technique 6: Employees
Make security a recruitment issue. Test attitudes to security in interviews and check IT employee CVs carefully.
Make security a part of employees' contracts.
Issue contractors and temporary workers with their own passwords and give them minimum access to your system.
Create accounts that expire automatically on termination of contract.

Please contact us if you need and help or advice on any of the Techniques covered.