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Your business’ data is precious, and it goes without saying that there are plenty of entities out there that want to get their grubby little fingers all over it. This is especially the case these days, when credentials and remote access tools can be purchased on the black market and leveraged against organizations of all sizes. If you don’t take action to keep your data secure from unauthorized access, you could face steep fines from compliance issues, not to mention the embarrassment of not being able to protect your organization’s data.
Anyone who has had their identity stolen (or have had an identity theft scare) knows how sketchy it can be. You might get an email saying that your account was accessed from an IP address in a country halfway across the world, during a time where there should be no one accessing that material. You immediately jump into damage control mode, changing passwords and kicking any unauthorized device off of the account, but it could be too late. In situations like this, there can be no doubt; someone has stolen your credentials and used them to legitimately access the account. What can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future?
Always use strong passwords. Don’t use dictionary words or personally identifiable information in your passwords (like your mother’s maiden name or your cat’s name or your birthday). Instead, use a combination of random words, numbers, and symbols.
More importantly, don’t use the same password across multiple accounts. If you sign into a fishing enthusiasts forum with the same password you use for PayPal, you are putting both accounts at risk.
Two-factor authentication is a great way to keep your data secure. In this particular case, you’re essentially adding an additional layer of security to your accounts. Instead of just needing a username and password, you need access to another device associated with the account that receives a passcode. In this way, you effectively keep hackers from accessing your account without also having access to your secondary device.
We believe that access control is especially important for business environments, and to that end, we offer a comprehensive remote monitoring solution that gives us insights into who is accessing your network, from where, and when. By utilizing this tool, we can limit access to sensitive data, detect when there is a security breach, and take measures to mitigate the damage done by such an event.
Of course, this only helps to keep outsiders from accessing your sensitive data. What if an insider is accessing information they aren’t supposed to see? In this case, we recommend putting together a list of permissions for each user based on their role within your organization. Nobody needs access to every single bit of data that your business utilizes, except maybe executive leadership. A good rule to live by is this: The less data that an employee has access to, the better your security. This isn’t to say that you should deprive employees of information that would make their jobs easier; rather, you instead protect data by restricting access to those who need it during their day-to-day responsibilities.
You don’t need us to tell you that unauthorized access to sensitive data is a bad thing, but often times businesses might not get why it’s such a big deal. Specific industries might be subject to regulations that define standards for security, and the last thing these organizations can afford is the gratuitous fine associated with failing to do so. Furthermore, your business’ reputation will be at stake. You may have heard the phrase, “Bad publicity is still publicity,” but we assure you that in this case, it’s simply not how it works.
If your business falls victim to a hacking attack, imagine the outrage that your local news outlet will throw your way, not to mention the feedback your most outspoken clients will leave you regarding your negligence. Simply put, the fallout of unauthorized access is too great to ignore.
Don’t let your business fall prey to this overlooked threat. To learn more about how you can implement solutions designed to protect your business, reach out to us at (206) 709-9556.