11 Jun 2013

The basics in securing your IT

With IT Security threats constantly evolving, growing in scale and sophistication, having effective security systems, policies and procedures in place is more important than ever. This a basic guide to what you need to do to help keep your data and systems from being compromised.

Stay up to date

Keep a log of workstations and the users they’re assigned to, and deactivate user accounts when people leave. Establish and maintain uniform naming conventions to avoid confusion and keep operating systems patched. Know who is responsible for which servers so you’ve got a “point-person” you can go to for every piece of hardware. Make sure backups, antivirus, and software are all updated and that regular scans and audits take place. Invest in added Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) that go well beyond firewalls in defending your private network.

Keep only what you need

If you’ve updated or changed systems, make sure that the old systems are entirely removed. Often backdoor access to networks is obtained by exploiting vulnerabilities in forgotten, unused systems that haven’t been removed. Have a single remote-access gateway for all users so that there is only one way into your network. Investing in Intrusion Prevention (IPS) will help detect and block sophisticated hacking and malware attempts.

Lock down Wi-Fi

Use 802.1x authentication, WPA2 enterprise encryption, and a suppressed-broadcast SSID for your corporate wireless network. Maintain an entirely separate network SSID for contractors or guests that cannot be used to access your business data. If your guests need access to your own network have them connect to the internet and VPN into your network rather than permitting access to your corporate SSID.

Communicate security

You don’t want to make your staff paranoid, nor hinder their ability to get their jobs done, but they also need to be aware of the importance of security and the steps taken to ensure it. Make sure you’ve got comprehensive policies around BYOD, acceptable use, internet access, email, network access, and privacy. Ensure that all staff and contractors are aware of these, and understand the reasons they’re in place and the steps they need to take to contribute to the security of your company. Investing in Web content filtering technology will also help you enforce policy and reduce the risk of malware infection from known malicious websites and applications. Lyncoln De Mello’s is Brennan IT’s Practice Manager for Voice and Data.