secure network

Secure Your Network

Russell W. Gilmore, CISSP, CISM, EnCECrisis Management Planning

digital lockAs technology becomes more intertwined with our daily lives, the “bad guys” will continue to find vulnerabilities and gain access to private accounts and data. Because of this, it is important to secure your network and data.

A best practice is to implement multiple security measures to minimize potential threats. Antivirus programs, virtual private networks (VPNs), and complex passwords are all ways to secure your network and data. There are also many others.

First, communicate with staff and employees on a regular basis about network, data and computer security. You have many options from holding a formal company-wide cyber security training to having a conversation in a weekly meeting. Either way, you should discuss specific methods used to prevent an attack. Employees should know about complex passwords or multi-factor authentication for accounts. Staying away from unknown websites and not clicking on suspicious links in emails are also important tips.

Next, encrypt your data at rest. Windows operating systems use a built-in encryption feature called BitLocker. Encrypting data may not stop a hacker from gaining access to or collecting your data, but it will make it impossible to read. Encrypting data on workstations and data storage drives can be very successful when it comes to an intrusion of your system or network and an attempt to steal data.

Finally, back up your data and systems often. Backups are useful in case a file is accidentally deleted or a system crashes. They can also be very useful if you fall victim to a ransomware attack. Ransomware involves the hackers encrypting the victim’s data and then offering to decrypt the data once the victim has paid the hackers. With a daily backup, instead of paying a ransom, you could restore information from the last backup.

All of this is easier said than done. But with the cost of a data breach increasing 10% to 4.24 million (according to a 2021 study by Ponemon Institute), implementing these measures would be far less costly in the long-term.