The price you have to pay for an unsecured IT infrastructure can be costly. A data breach, one of the most common IT security threats, can cost a company huge tangible losses to the tune of $4 million.
Apart from the financial setbacks, you also stand to lose your customers’ confidence over security issues or breaches. When you fail to secure your IT environment, you’re making your company vulnerable to many other types of risks and threats such as denial of service attacks, malware infiltration, and account hijacking. These vulnerabilities give cyber-criminals control of your network and all the customer and company data it keeps.
Ultimately, poor IT infrastructure management can put your business revenue and reputation on the line.
How to Make Your IT Infrastructure More Secure
The following steps describe the ways of maintaining the security of your IT network:
1. Have experts conduct an IT assessment/audit and planning.
Even though you recognize the need to secure your IT infrastructure, you might not know where to start or to what extent you need to scale your network. If this is the case, you could ask experts in IT services to perform a security audit for you.
They can identify the weaknesses or gaps in your system and make recommendations on how you should fix those vulnerabilities. You could also discuss with them the specific needs of your business, and they’ll create a blueprint for your IT security program.
2. Create and enforce IT security policies.
Your IT administrators need to come up with a set of policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the staff. Everyone should be aware and trained on how they can use IT systems and tools securely and responsibly.
Make sure to issue guidelines that cover all areas of IT security—from setting up the vendor and remote access to your IT network to mobile device use and data transfer.
3. Enforce a strong password policy.
Your IT security guidelines should include a strong password policy. This can help in preventing any attempt to break into your systems.
Nowadays, you can choose secure passwords with the help of password management solutions. These are applications, which allow you to create company-wide standards in setting passwords.
4. Back-up your data.
As mentioned, a data breach can affect your business’ profitability or competitiveness negatively. The consequences are the same with data loss due to natural disasters. Having a data backup solution can help in your data recovery efforts if your IT infrastructure becomes compromised.
One of the options you have in backing up your data is cloud services, as they enable you to store encrypted backups via cloud storage. Just make sure to test your backup services regularly for any issues that might prevent you from accessing your data during critical times.
5. Always update your anti-virus software.
Malware and viruses pose a consistent threat to your IT infrastructure. Some of them are even sophisticated enough to bypass the security measures of your system.
When your anti-virus software is up to date, it can detect the latest version of malware and neutralize the potential threat consequently. It may be best to automate the updating of your anti-virus software to keep your defenses always on.
6. Update workstations and software.
Your IT infrastructure is a vast collection of equipment and tools including workstations. Just like your overall IT infrastructure, these computer terminals need to have their own individual security measures.
Turning on their firewall will block any unauthorized attempt to access your network. Security updates on your software applications can likewise boost your IT infrastructure’s security, so make sure you apply them automatically or when they become available.
7. Update your firewall.
The firewall is the set of programs that protect your network’s resources from users in other networks. It looks at data or web traffic to decide if it should be forwarded to its destination or not and blocks unauthorized parties’ access to sensitive information.
The level of security between traditional firewalls and next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) is different, so you might want to choose the latter.
An NGFW solution can detect malware faster and has intrusion prevention systems that will keep all your company and customer data secure.
8. Implement a hosted DNS solution.
End users of your IT system may unknowingly compromise your network when they visit websites that infect their computers and other machines with malware.
A hosted domain name system (DNS) solution can block this type of websites from loading so that none of your computers pick up the malicious software.
A hosted DNS solution can also provide you with metrics and reports on technology products to help you choose what’s best for your business.
9. Audit your servers.
Servers can be the programs or computers that manage the central resource of your network. Any downtime on your server due to security issues can have serious impact on your operations.
To prevent this from happening, you should perform an audit of your server and focus on aspects such as user database, file sharing permissions, password standards, and the like. The purpose of the audit is to determine the current level of your server’s security, identify any system flaws, and plan for patching up those vulnerabilities.
10. Safeguard mobile devices.
Your employees may be using their mobile devices to access company data at the office. This might have repercussions on your network security as these endpoints could go unmonitored.
Encourage your employees to implement a password lock for their smartphone. This will serve as a precautionary measure if their device containing your company data gets lost.
You might also want to consider other solutions such as using a platform that can record all critical endpoint activity so your team could have a look at it and identify any possible security threat.
11. Guard your email with a hosted spam solution.
Malicious emails and phishing scams can make your IT infrastructure vulnerable to malware or ransomware attacks, especially if your employees are unable to distinguish legitimate emails from malicious messages.
Getting a hosted spam filtering solution on top of your hosted email services will help you block spam emails even before they find their way into your network. Plus, you could use this solution to blacklist suspicious domains.
12. Use an anti-malware application.
Malware can infiltrate your system through multiple points – email, web streaming, or unwanted ads, to name a few – which is why you need to invest in an anti-malware application in addition to an anti-virus software. This application is helpful since it can scan all the systems on your network, giving your IT infrastructure management another layer of protection against malware.
13. Choose your network name wisely.
Your Wi-Fi network’s name is called the service set identifier (SSID), which is what others see when they’re trying to find an internet connection. Experts recommend that you change the generic SSID, which often includes the name of the manufacturer and the serial number of your router. This could give away valuable information to hackers and unauthorized parties who might use it to gain access to important data in your network.
14. Separate guest networks from main networks.
To further reduce security risks to your IT infrastructure, you should restrict the use of your main network only to employees of your company. If your guests or other business partners need access to Wi-Fi while they’re at your office, you could have them use a guest network instead.
15. Outsource IT-related processes and systems.
Your business can benefit from outsourcing your IT infrastructure management to an IT service vendor in some ways. It can help you streamline your IT processes, leverage the expertise of IT specialists, and come up with cost-effective security solutions for your organization.
You could use any of the cloud computing services, such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). These third-party services offer technology solutions that cater to your business needs, including IT security.
IT security is an absolute necessity for businesses. There’s no room for poor practices or technology products that might compromise the ability of your IT infrastructure to thwart security threats. For this, you need professionals and experts to handle your IT operations.
Figari Group’s managed services, which range from hardware to software management, can cover all your IT needs with top-level security coverage for your entire infrastructure.
Jen spent six years in real estate, with three years in commercial leasing and facility management. She is now the leasing director of Figari handling leasing and business development. Her charisma and dynamic attitude certainly make her the life of the party. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and getting a tan.