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BizReport : Internet : March 19, 2014

Top 4 tips to improve online security

Business' online security isn't about one thing that will protect data and information. It's about continued vigilance. There is no finish line to say, "We made it. We are secure." The question each business has to ask is "Are we more secure today than yesterday?" One expert offers his top 4 tips for brands to improve security.

by Kristina Knight

Just as there is no one way to completely protect our personal information there is no one system or software to buy that will protect a brand's data and information. Instead, there are four things every business can - and should - regularly do to ensure the business is as protected as possible.

First, patch applications, software and operating systems so that there is protection from viruses and spyware.

"Malware can infect your systems from a variety of different vectors, including compromised websites, malicious attachments in email, and infected thumb drives. This is why strong malware defenses are crucial. Anti-virus and anti-spyware will scan your files to see if there's any malware in the files. It may even tell you if you're about to download a potentially malicious file. Update your anti-virus software regularly," said William Pelgrin, President & CEO, Center for Internet Security.

Second, make sure all systems, devices and sites are configured with security in mind. Hackers can and do exploit vulnerabilities that are offered in 'out of the box' system configurations. Check default settings and ensure they are set for security rather than ease of use.

Third, protect admin accounts.

"Administrator or "admin" accounts give a user more control over programs and settings for a computer than a typical user account. If an intruder accesses an admin account, he could potentially take over your computer. Non-administrator accounts, or guest accounts, can limit the ability of someone gaining unauthorized access. It is important to change the default password on your admin accounts and to always log on to your computer as a non-administrator or non-admin account," said Pelgrin.

Finally, keep a complete inventory and manage access to those points because brands can't protect systems that they don't know are there. So inventory all computers, software and hardware and perform risk assessments on those devices.

"Ensure that data is classified with appropriate security controls. Know what data you maintain, who has access to it, when they have access, where they have access to it and how they can access it," said Pelgrin."

That maintenance record should include all devices or systems connected to the network, recording the network addresses, machine name(s), purpose of each system, an asset owner responsible for each device, and the department associated with each device.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: business security, Center for Internet Security, online security

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