Today’s edition of the Sunday Times has an article on information security in its business supplement. The article, “The Virus That Spreads Cybercrime”, focuses on the information security risks faced by owners of Small to Medium Enterprises. The Sunday Times interviewed me to get my thoughts on where the major concerns lie for business owners. To me it is the protection of the data the business depends on.
If you do not know where your data is then you cannot protect it properly, nor can you ensure that only authorised people are accessing it. So any of you SME owners out there who did not get a chance to read the article here are some tips for you;
- Only give people access to your data when they need it to do their job. Remember if you would not give people access to paper records then extend that protection to the electronic versions.
- If people need to take data outside the office make sure they only have the data they need and that data is encrypted. Again if the employee is not allowed take the paper based files home why are you allowing them take the electronic version with them and have it unprotected? There are numerous commercial products out there that can encrypt your data for you, or as I point out in the article you can use the inbuilt encryption in your operating system or use an Open Source solution such as Truecrypt.
- Install anti-virus software on all your computers and ensure that it is updated regularly, at least once a day.
- Make sure that your systems are set to install the latest patches when they become available.
- If your network is connected to the Internet make sure that you have a firewall to protect it from attackers. Most broadband routers come with an inbuilt firewall. Talk to your broadband provider or IT service company to ensure it is up and running.
- For laptop users ensure that they are using a software based firewall for when they connect to the Internet when they are away from the office.
- If you are using a wireless network in the office make sure it is secure. Follow the instructions with your router, look up the tutorials here or contact your ISP or IT service company to help you.
- Always, always back up your data. You can do it to tape, removable disk, USB key or use an online backup company to securely back up your data over the Internet to their remote facility.