Jay Markey, President, Green Seven Technologies

iPhone and ComputersCybersecurity is like insurance, a proactive approach to protecting data from cybercrime. Left unprotected, your technology systems may serve as a gateway for hackers to also access larger companies, client information, and vendor accounts. Imagine running your business without technology.  No email, document files, client and vendor data, remote access,  or online calendar. Your technology plays a vital role in the way you work and communicate with your clients. Consider that breaches occurring within manufacturing can expose both internal and external intellectual property.  Older manufacturing legacy systems are often the workhorse still used for operations and production. So, what happens if proprietary information is stolen or your manufacturing plant comes to a complete stop?

Protecting yourself and your organization starts with a strategy, a plan and implementation of strong policies and procedures. Here are four things to consider so you don’t leave yourself open to cybersecurity threats.

  1. Keep anti-virus and anti-malware updated, implement regular monitoring, and review procedures to anticipate challenges before they become problems. Have a backup plan in place and test the plan before disaster strikes to ensure your data is protected. Schedule automated backups to ensure regular data protection.
  2. Establish a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Mobile devices create significant security and management challenges. Install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while working on public networks, set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment, and establish protocols for employee separation. Institute a locked device procedure and wipe data clean on lost devices.
  3. Require strong passwords for all employees that consist of upper/lower case alpha, numbers, and/or symbols. Avoid obvious passwords, like 12345 or birthdays. Consider a mandatory password update every three months.
  4. Clean your system of ghosts haunting your networks. Inactive users or unused computers that remain part of your network can reflect open accounts that could present security holes for unauthorized access. Logins and inactive emails from separated employees or files on devices no longer used on inactive machines are a loophole and a crack in the security of your technology system.

An essential part of practicing secure computing is educating employees on how to make smart decisions, especially when it comes to file sharing through unsecured channels and public Wi-Fi networks when working remotely.

From across the hall or around the world, no matter the size, every business is a target for attack. Cybersecurity and security awareness should be a top priority and part of your company’s culture by 1) establishing strong policies and procedures, 2) implementing regular automated backups, 3) creating an emergency response protocol in the event of an attack or act of nature, 4) educating employees on awareness when working remotely,  and 5) practicing execution of data recovery from a mock disaster.

For more information on network vulnerability assessments and IT services, contact your NWIRC Strategic Business Advisor or Jay Markey (jmarkey@teamgreen7.com).