The internet enables business professionals to communicate freely with their colleagues anywhere in the world, making remote work more possible than ever before. With the help of a great deal of Wi-Fi growth, we have created devices that have the ability to transfer data through a network so long as there is an internet connection. While this connectivity is amazing for production, downsides have popped up as well. One of the most notable downsides is that every individual with an internet connection has their own networks and data that can fall victim to theft by black hat hackers. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your company, there are levels of both awareness security precautions that will help keep you safe from an attack, even doing business across continents.
Know exactly what data you are dealing with
Before tackling anything else, you should audit all of the data that your company is collecting and determine what is public and what is private. That data that you identify as public won’t need to be as closely guarded as that which is private, so the correct precautions can be taken once these compartments are identified. A few examples of common public information includes business offerings, open position requirements, and employee benefits. Chances are that some company data will fall in between these two categories, proving to have medium importance that shouldn’t affect your company too much if discovered. This level of information, often including internal process details, should have some security measures placed around it, whereas more critical private information should be closely guarded with the highest security and least access rights. This private information that you should work to keep protected includes employment documents, financial records and future business ventures.
Choose a secure cloud
The cloud is undoubtedly one of the most useful tools for businesses with employees working from all over the world. Beyond storing data in one centralized location, the usage of cloud-based communication tools allows employees to seamlessly conduct meetings across continents without delay. One thing to be sure to do, however, is to choose a reliable, secure cloud option, such as 8×8’s virtual meetings, to ensure your information is locked down. You might be asking what makes a cloud secure? The first thing to understand about cloud storage is that it is stored on hard drive servers owned by big companies rather than directly on your own devices and made accessible to you via the internet. This gives your data more protection from hackers by reaping the benefits of security measures implemented by some of the world’s best computer scientists. A secure cloud can leverage big data and analytics instantly over a large swath of users to address known threats and predict potential threats in real time. Having this capability allows your business to stay one step ahead of attackers, and continue collaborating and storing confidential documents without fear of a breach due to physical distance.
Use multiple authentication methods
Authentication is the act of confirming an identity by comparing credentials against a database of authorized identities in order to allow access to a system. Multi-factor authentication makes it so that you don’t only rely on a password to access classified company information. Instead, utilize multiple factors that include something you know (such as a username/password), something you have (such as a Digital Certificate), and something you are (such as a fingerprint). Having these various steps of authentication allows you to strengthen your defenses against potential thieves because they will need more information than just guessing a password. This is especially important for global companies who rely on collaborating via shared docs and data on the cloud. Luckily, installing multi-factor authentication is simple and often cheap but will make a huge impact on your company’s security.
Establish a cyber security policy
One key element to keeping your company safe online is by establishing a written cyber policy for how your employees should handle incoming scams. When tasked with creating this cyber policy, it’s best to start writing policies for the most basic procedures such as how to create and use strong passwords, the importance of updating those passwords regularly, how consequences for policy breaches will be handled, and who your in-office cyber question guru will be. To create these strong passwords, your staff must first understand what makes a password strong. These qualities include: having at least 13 characters, a mix of lower and upper case letters, special characters (“!”, “?”, “*”, “#”, “&” etc.), and never using personal information (names, addresses, etc.). Once these passwords have initially been established, require them to be updated at least once a month to stay one step ahead of adapting criminals.
While cyber attacks continue to shake the business world, take solace in the fact that there are steps you can actively take to keep your business out of the spotlight. Follow these initial steps to lock your systems down and stay one step ahead of potential hackers. These security measures will help your company maximize productivity while working with global employees across multiple continents.