used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Congratulations, you’ve taken every step to secure data on your networks and PCs against increasingly malicious worms, Trojans and viruses. But don’t rest easy. All infrastructure elements, including printers, servers, storage, Wi-Fi networks and cloud computing are just as susceptible to surprising security threats. Forget them and your sense of security is nothing but a dream.

Whether they’re criminals looking to blackmail your business, technically savvy vandals getting their kicks, revenge-minded former employees or even competitors, hackers all have one thing in common: they want to disrupt your business operations for money, other gain—or simply for fun.

So, what can you do? Read on for some valuable tips to bolster your overall IT defense. Combined with regular and diligent employee training and education, these pointers can help you better spot and prevent disruptive security attacks.

Mobile dos and don’ts

More than large companies, small businesses are issuing or implementing bring-your-own device (BYOD) policies regarding smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The ubiquitous nature of such products can cause companies to assume that their business information safely resides on them. Wrong.

Your IT department is responsible for protecting company data, regardless of where it’s housed. What to do? For one thing, businesses must set firm policies about what data are allowed on employee-owned devices. It’s also wise to weigh the relative safety of available smartphone operating systems and perhaps require data to be stored on an approved server or in the cloud.

Safe and secure storage

Servers and storage devices also present a unique set of security challenges. Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, for example, can overload those running web applications and compromise network bandwidth, memory, CPU use and hard-disk space. Solutions like the HP ProLiant G8 servers deliver comprehensive data and client protection and security.

Working without wires

Wi-Fi networks aren’t immune from sabotage-minded attackers, either. Consider these dangers:

  • Weak personal identification numbers (PINs) allow the ability of any user to access any wireless network at will. A laptop-equipped troublemaker sitting in your parking lot might be able to hack into your important data this way.
  • Security gaps allow wireless users to snoop on each other’s networks.
  • Operating system flaws provide easy backdoor access to a single computer—or even up to an entire network.

Easy first steps to securing your network include simplifying network management, implementing clearly defined BYOD security policies and making rogue Wi-Fi access more difficult with services like HP TippingPoint networking security solutions.

Consider the cloud

True, the cloud improves server, storage and network access and is less expensive than physical systems. But with easy data-access comes serious confidentiality concerns. Careful monitoring, strict access control and encrypted data are among the best security measures, along with the use of a private, rather than a public enterprise cloud.

IT infrastructure aside, simple password security is surprisingly often overlooked in developing an overall security plan. Increased password complexity, and the use of single sign-on and other technologies, is essential.

Staying one step ahead of cyber criminals demands detailed development of security policies and processes. Proactive businesses that develop comprehensive security plans better ensure their own safety, integrity, reputations and bottom-line profitability.