6 Ways to Keep IT Systems Secure

Juliet D'cruz

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6 Ways to Keep IT Systems Secure

Client details are one of the most valuable assets to an enterprise. The information clients give your company is more than just some data – it is a token of trust. Yet, many companies fail to maintain this bond of faith.

Companies lose client trust and reputation due to cyberattacks and data breaches. These data breaches also lead to significant monetary losses, ranging from $0.12 to $1.24 million for small businesses. For larger enterprises, the lost amount is even more enormous. 

Whether you run a legacy enterprise or own a startup, you must take your IT system’s security seriously. Here are six ways you can protect your company from cyberattacks and maintain the relationship of trust with your clients:

1. Build A Cybersecurity Team

System security is tricky. You need to ensure that your internal network has no flaws. The user access is managed comprehensively, and the right and robust endpoint detection tools are set up. These tasks require many skills. This need for proficiency is why your business needs a capable cybersecurity team.

The cybersecurity team can work with IT operations to analyze and fix the current system. They can also develop a recovery plan to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. 

By working with HR and educating the employees on security tactics to practice in the workplace, your cybersecurity team can reduce the chances of security compromise due to human errors and carelessness.  

Your cyber security department could comprise a security incident manager who would monitor real-time incidents and an ethical hacker to test your system. It could also include a security strategist to predict future security risks and capabilities needed. You can either have an on-site team or hire remote talent by offering work from home cyber security jobs. Either way, remember the professionals can make sure your system is foolproof. 

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2. Improve Password Protection

Many individuals and businesses use small and easy passwords. Most people just set family members’ names or birthdays as passwords. It is elementary for hackers to penetrate a system with laid-back passwords. The primary cause of system intrusion is weak or compromised password protocols. Hence, it would be best to make stronger passwords using complex combinations of numbers, special characters, and uppercase and lowercase alphabets. 

Also, frequently change your passwords and never use the same password for multiple devices, accounts, or services. Group passwords according to their functions. Use different password-generating strategies for each type of website, work, social media, or financial details. This way, if the intruder cracks the algorithm for socials, they still won’t be able to exploit your bank details. Additionally, 60% of the workers use one password for their work and personal log-ins. It compromises company data security. 

Avoid creating documents that contain all the passwords. If the hackers make their way to that document, your system will be under significant threat. If you ever have to make one master document, remember to encrypt it and limit its access just to yourself.

3. Adopt Zero Trust Security

Many business models work on information exchange through the cloud. Whether your workforce is remote or you allow your distributed vendors to access the portal, online data access opens the door for security breaches and data theft. You can ensure greater security by adopting the ‘zero trust’ security architecture. The name perfectly describes it as it works on the “never trust, always verify” concept.

The zero-trust model assumes the system is constantly under breach. Because of this, it strictly and explicitly checks each request. The location, role, device type, and health and sensitivity of data are evaluated before the system is allowed to open the digital doors. The identification process isn’t limited to conventional passwords. This model also uses one-time codes and biometric verification.  

When the access is finally granted, the zero-trust policy ensures it only allows the least privileged access. Moreover, the model never stops verifying identity. It carries out multiple identification tests even when the requesting identity is within the system. With this constant checking process, the zero models prevent intruders from sneaking into the system, which saves an average of $1.76 million per breach.

4. Try Data Masking

Data masking is a way of making a fake yet realistic version of your organization’s information. Using data masking, you can transform your information into a format that cannot be reverse engineered into its original form by hackers.

Data encryption is the most popular data masking technique. It uses an encryption algorithm that translates readable data into incomprehensible ciphertext. The only way to make data usable or understandable is to use the encryption key.

Data shuffling is another widely used method to keep records safe. With this technique, the original data is rearranged into a random sequence. The output seems real but has no value since the data association is wrong.

Using any data masking techniques makes the data useless to an attacker if they manage to get their hands on it. Due to this, data masking is also the best method to use when exchanging information through the cloud.

5. Use a Firewall 

You can think of a firewall as a security guard for your computer. It creates a buffer zone or a filter between your network and the external one. Any attempt to gain access must go through the firewall’s monitoring system.

The firewalled system examines the traffic based on a strict set of rules. It only makes network connections with specific data packets. The firewall blocks any unknown source or new IP address. It prevents hackers and malware from even trying and opening the system.

Firewalls come in two different formats: software and hardware. While the hardware firewall provides perimeter security, the software firewall is internal and focuses on applications and port numbers. Using a firewall significantly increases system security. You can take firewall security a step further and use multiple firewalls on the same network. Some companies use as many as a hundred firewalls.

6. Dispose of What You Don’t Need 

Many of us receive numerous junk emails daily: bank alerts, account notifications, or credit card statements. Although these emails might not be necessary, they contain sensitive information that malicious hackers can devour. If the emails don’t carry directly exploitable information, they often have segments of what the social engineering hacks can use. It is why it’s best to discard any email you don’t need. Only keep the data you need for your routine and current business.

Likewise, it is essential to dispose of data in electronics carefully. You might have deleted the files from your device by clicking the delete button and emptying the recycle bin. But nothing is permanently deleted from computing devices. Technology savvy criminals and hackers can recover the data from the hard drives. You should use methods that permanently delete data, such as sanitizing your device so the data is entirely unrestorable.  

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Your clients entrust you with their vital information, and keeping it safe and secure is your utmost duty. To fulfill this responsibility, you must keep your IT system secure. A capable cybersecurity team can help you with this task as it can ensure your current system is strong and appropriate digital walls are set up. You can also erect a zero-trust architecture and a firewall, preventing harmful access requests and constantly checking for verification. Make sure to mask your data to make it unexploitable and keep it only if needed. Otherwise, permanently delete it.