It seems that while most of us aren’t sorry to see 2017 in the rear-view, if recent news is any indication, 2018 isn’t shaping up to be any brighter for technology. My outlook on security for SMB technology is mixed at best – I’m certain we will see an escalating amount of attacks coordinated by organized and well-funded teams pursuing both criminal and political agendas, and we will continue to see the rise of propaganda in social media presented as facts-based journalism. On a more positive note, there are still plenty of technology options for SMBs that give them access to the same tools and software that the big boys use, but as with real life, graduating to an internet-savvy business world means preparing for an environment full of sharp edges.
To get you ready, I recommend the following technology resolutions:
- Back up your data. This was #1 last year, and it will be #1 next year. Not just to a hard drive you keep right next to your computer or server, but offsite, and regularly updated. Data loss is not just a possibility – it’s an eventuality. But it doesn’t have to be fatal.
- Use strong, unique passwords. The standards have changed, but the concept remains the same. Don’t use weak passwords, and certainly don’t use them for multiple, critical sites or services. Get a password manager to help keep track of them.
- Secure your mobile device, including laptops. If you check email, correspond with friends, purchase goods and services, take photos, blog, socialize, whatever, put a password on it. Can’t get the fingerprint sensor or face scanner to work? Sorry charlie, put a password on it. Even a 4-digit pin is better than nothing.
- Don’t value convenience over security. Being secure is hard work, but recovering from an attack or malware infection is ten times harder. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way.
- Protect your technology in layers. Maintain malware protection and firewall on your workstations. Encrypt drives on mobile devices. Set up malware and firewall protection for your network. Backup your data (important enough to say it twice). Add malware protection to your email service. Train your employees on proper security maintenance. Every layer is additive and creates a strong defense on all sides.
The internet continues to be a major engine for both economic and civil change, and the world’s powers clearly recognize this. Many battles are being laid, fortifications are being built, and skirmishes are already in the open. Like tense borders between countries, this can make the technology landscape risky and sometimes even toxic. It’s not time to head to the bunkers yet, but you should definitely be diligent in protecting your own technology territory. The internet has gone from pristine frontier to a heavily populated and increasingly polluted environment, and if you don’t take necessary precautions, your organization could end up catching a nasty infection with long-term health implications.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from FreeDigitalPhotos.net