With the recession now receding and employment numbers rising, now is a great time to be looking out for your career, in both considering entry level positions and ways you can rise in the ranks of management at your company.
One of the best was you can do this is increasing your awareness of workplace technology and the various ways it can be implemented to make your office more efficient. When you start to make suggestions, though, you will want to also mention internet security. If your company doesn’t pay attention to it, you might find yourself on the bad end of a data breach or data leak, and you or your team might be partially on the hook for it. If you do pay attention, though, your boss will thank you in their mind when they see someone else’s company in the headlines.
Here are some tips or ideas you might want to share with your boss.
Keep Offline Backups
Most businesses are obligated by either ethics or law to keep certain information for an extended period of time instead of just disposing of it the moment it is no longer useful. A lot of this information can be a problem should the data be leaked out online or to the public in some manner, and so it should be well protected.
You don’t need to keep all of this data on devices that are connected to the internet, however, and thus limiting access (of both an intentional and unintentional variety) to those handling the device or devices where the backup is kept. You might want a little redundancy in case of device failure or fire, but your most sensitive data can be safely kept on a durable and locked-up external hard drive. Consider the pros and cons of your current data backup plan.
In addition, if this information is something which is used or accessed often, you will probably want it ready on a computer. Yet what if the internet isn’t required for the particular set of information, you are only leaving it open to risk. You may just want to disable the internet on that computer then, or unplug the Ethernet cable when it isn’t need. This might not always be the case, but it is definitely something every good employee should check on, just in case they can catch something which will work extremely well.
Go Over New Practices Frequently
In the world of internet security, a yearly memo just isn’t going to cut it for any company. Think about how many memos you’ve ignored. Now if you say zero, then think about the number of memos your worst co-worker has ignored. That is what you need to look out for, because one weak link is all you need.
Instead, you should review what your company does and then check on the latest practices, making sure your company is up to date. If not up to date, then suggest to your boss something along the lines of a quick seminar or even a quick instructional video for larger companies. Maybe suggest tacking it onto the end of a normal meeting. Try to find the best way to disseminate information throughout your particular workplace.
How often should you suggest to actually review practices and then remind employees of them and update them on any changes? Again, it will have to be a judgement call for your boss and you, but three months is a good amount of time to start from. This is of course in addition to any emergency situations that pop up.
Encourage Secure Practices Outside of the Office
A lot of people are now telecommuting or otherwise working from home or outside of the office, and this is generally a good thing. However, the outside world is likely not always as secure an environment for data as your workplace. Mention to your boss the types of data and the information that is out with your telecommuting or travelling workers, and see if there are any measures you can take or any services or equipment you can provide your employees with to better enable them to protect their data.
An inexpensive, yet effective way, is to see if you can suggest having the company subsidizing workers with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service or otherwise setting one up. This is especially useful to employees that will be travelling a lot or meeting with clients in public settings, as it will protect employee’s devices when they use unsecure public networks.
A VPN will be especially useful to employees that travel around the world, as it will allow them to bypass a great deal of regional restrictions and government censorship, allowing your company to communicate with them and transfer data without any hindrance, and make your data more secure in that sense as well.
If you are looking for a good website to check out VPNs, take a look at http://securethoughts.com/best-vpn/.
Create and Use Email Guidelines
A solid protocol for using email is the backbone of any internet security policy. Despite the prevalence of social networks for personal matters, most businesses still use email as their primarily means of electronic communication. And with all the information that is transferred via email every day, a compromised email address is all your company needs to lose money and/or customers.
You should tell your boss to make sure all employees are using strong passwords, and that those passwords are changed at least every three months. In addition, check to see if there are emails that can be deleted, and ask that everyone cleans out their email every once in a while. Finally, make extra sure that employees keep their work and personal emails separate, as often people won’t put as much effort into protecting their own email.
Reconsider Your Company’s Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Guidelines
Does your company use cloud storage or file-sharing heavily to do its work? Is that truly necessary, or it is something someone suggested because they wanted to look like they were ahead of today’s technology? Answer these questions, and then consider that these types of services, while useful, will often result in an unmanageable security situation.
A single disgruntled or fired employee can take all of the data offered to him very easily off of one of these services, and in many cases it will be very difficult to trace it back to the leak. Try to limit access on these services to give people only the files they need, and nothing more. Should someone no longer need access to something, make sure that they are removed immediately before they can download something.
I hope that these tips will prove helpful in impressing your employer, and that you will continue to find new ways to change your workplace for the better.
About the Author
Caroline Black is a technology enthusiast and blogger. She enjoys writing about all kinds of technology and gadgets but has a special interest in internet security. You can find her blog at http://www.securethoughts.com/.
Photo credit: Woodley Wonderworks