Seattle Business Leader? Make Sure You’re Following These 10 IT Best Practices

Small to mid-sized business leaders here in Seattle have to face a hard truth: you’re more likely to suffer a cyberattack than the big companies.

See, the big companies around the Seattle area, like Microsoft, Costco, and Amazon, have more secure networks, armies of cyber defense IT security experts, and these super-impressive, cutting-edge AI technologies that can predict and prevent cyberattacks. Seriously, someday they’ll be using a cyber defense tool called Skynet… and we’ll all have to start worrying.

Small to mid-sized companies don’t have Skynet-like tools (these technologies cost as much as the GDP of some developing nations!), but SMBs do have their own impressively effective cybersecurity strategy: IT best practices. You’d be surprised at how effective the following 10 IT best practices are.

  1. Cover the basics. We’ve all known about the importance of firewalls, antivirus, and backups since the 90s. They’re all still very important. Enough said.
  2. Physically secure your hardware. Put servers in locked rooms and computer towers above the floor to protect them from kicks, shoves, and flooding/ mopping disasters. You may also want to store your backup media in a waterproof, fireproof safe.
  3. Create a disaster recovery plan.A clear written plan helps explain what to do and who to call in an emergency. Quick tip? Don’t store your only copy of your disaster recovery plan on a computer. Print it out and put it in that waterproof, fireproof safe you bought for your backup media.
  4. Train your employees. Keep staff up to date on the latest phishing, vishing[link to vishing article], and other social engineering tactics, and make sure they understand your BYOD policy (see #9).
  5. Update and patch your systems immediately. Yes, it’s a hassle, but it’s really important considering the rise in zero-day hacking. If you truly don’t have time to update and patch your systems during business hours, hire a Seattle-based managed services provider (MSP) to apply patches and updates after-hours for you. Your MSP can help implement other IT best practices too.
  6. Change your passwords. Right now, this very second, cybersecurity experts have identified 8 billion compromised accounts. Your business accounts are probably on that list. The good news is that it’s easy to protect a compromised account – just change the password!Use a password manager like Dashlane or LastPass to securely store your passwords, take advantage of random password generators, and use multifactor or two-factor authentication as often as you can. Oh, and change your smart home devices’ admin passwords because those aren’t secure at all.
  1. Focus on Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Fancy name, simple concept: “data loss” occurs when someone takes data out of your organization, such as on a flash drive, mobile device, Dropbox backup, or by emailing themselves a file to work on from their unsecured, noncompliant home network. Think of how many times you’ve done this, then think of how often your employees must do this.Take a deep breath, stay calm, and think of how great it will be when you have tools in place to prevent this.
  1. Understand your current environment. It’s hard to know which IT best practices to focus on unless you know what your current strengths and weaknesses are. The best way to do this is to hire a professional to perform a vulnerability assessment for you. Once you know where you stand, you can plan where you want to be in terms of security, costs, and IT functionality.
  2. Set up a BYOD policy“Bring Your Own Devices” (BYOD) includes smartwatches, smartphones, Fitbits, smart lightbulbs, personal iPads, Nest surveillance systems, and other IoT (internet of things) devices. These can be a huge security hazard.Make sure your employee’s devices don’t expose your business to danger by working with an MSP to set up IoT device monitoring.
  3. Secure your WiFi. Set up a password for your router instead of making it open access, download the firmware updates for it regularly, change the default admin password, and don’t connect to unsecured WiFi in hotels or coffee shops without a VPN (or don’t connect to them at all, if possible).

Get Help Implementing IT Best Practices

We’re all a pretty tech-centric crowd here in Seattle. If your business IT went down for a few days, your customers and clients would probably become extremely impatient, and they may view your company as unreliable. They may even start questioning the safety of their data at your company.

You don’t want any of those things to happen.

By implementing these 10 IT best practices at your business, you can block a huge percentage of attempted cyberattacks, and you’ll also improve the stability of your systems and build a cyber-aware culture at your company.

Ready to schedule your vulnerability assessment, so you can find out where your company currently stands with IT best practices? You’re in luck. For a limited time, the Seattle IT experts at Interplay are offering a Free Network Security Scan to business leaders.

 

Schedule your Network Security Scan here and learn more about how Interplay can help you implement IT best practices at your company.