With Halloween almost here, it’s time to face up to a scary certainty: data disasters can strike at any time. Losing your important business information because a data breach, virus, ransomware attack, or human error isn’t a matter of if but when — kind of like when the villain finally shows up in scary movies.
But if it’s easy to lose your data, it should be easy to protect it, right? We think so — that’s why CMIT Solutions dedicates itself to securing the information and IT infrastructure of thousands of clients across North America against goblins, ghouls, and other Halloween frights.
Those include malware and spyware that can worm their way into your computer after an employee clicks a bad link or visits a malicious website. Password protection is important, too, since hackers often steal one login credential and use it to infiltrate other computers, accounts, and connected devices. Heck, even something as simple as a spilled cup of coffee or a lost thumb drive can lead to devastating data loss — something no company can afford.
So what’s the best way to protect against a data disaster? While there’s no catchall way to provide comprehensive protection, a multi-layered approach can build strong defenses. At CMIT Solutions, we rely on data encryption, regular and remote backup, proactive maintenance and monitoring, and employee education to erect a robust wall of protection around your data. Below are 5 more of our favorite way to stay safe and secure your data this Halloween:
1. Team up with a trusted IT advisor to automatically implement software updates and security patches.
You don’t let your kids trick or treat alone, right? Why should you fight off IT monsters on your own? With the assistance of a reliable partner like CMIT Solutions, you don’t have to suffer the consequences of an unsupported operating system or a ransomware attack that exploits security vulnerabilities. Our trusted technicians can deploy updates and patches while you sleep, eliminating software-related downtime during working hours and empowering your employees to work faster and smarter on protected machines.
2. Encircle your network with diverse layers of security solutions.
During horror films, we always scoff at the naïve character that thinks a deadbolt will keep the villain away. Likewise, don’t rely on basic consumer protections to safely and securely protect your business. The right combination of anti-malware, anti-spyware, anti-spam, firewall, and network analysis tools can build enough obstacles in the face of cyber thieves to keep data protected and systems free from infection. This is particularly important if you allow computers or devices to connect to your company’s network from remote locations.
3. Use caution with suspicious emails, unexpected attachments, and annoying pop-up ads.
It’s a ready-made scary story: unassuming employee receives strange-looking message, curiously opens its attachment, and unfurls a string of horrors on all associated computers, hard drives, networks, and devices. Fight back by knowing the basics: inspect the address AND display name of any suspicious email looking for spoofed domains or sloppy misspellings. Hover over web addresses without clicking on them to see whether they direct you to suspicious web pages — and beware of long strings of unconnected letters and numbers instead of real web addresses. Similarly, if you spot grammatical errors in the body copy, mark it as spam or delete it immediately. If an email looks like it’s coming from your bank, credit card company, or shipping provider, call customer service to confirm it’s legit. And if an infuriating ad keeps popping up, don’t click that viral headline or flashy ads just to make it go away.
4. Use multi-factor authentication on all accounts.
Strong, unique passwords might seem like the perfect antidote for a cybersecurity nightmare. But no matter how good you think your password is, remember that hackers can test billions of combinations in seconds, using brute force strength to crack even the toughest code. That’s why multi-factor authentication, which requires you to enter your password and then verify your identity by entering a unique code you receive via text message or email, is equally important. Often this can serve as the last obstacle between a hacker with a stolen password and the data so important to your business.
5. Educate and train your employees to be a first line of cybersecurity defense.
Maybe everybody comes dressed in costumes to hand out candy on Halloween. If so, consider the camaraderie of the day a perfect occasion for fun cybersecurity training (seriously, it can be fun!). Spotting phishing or ransomware emails and not downloading a malicious attachment might seem like common sense, but it’s not until your employees understand it is. That’s why specific policies about cybersecurity education and training are a must for your staff. Strong security tools still need the buy-in and input of the people who use them every day.
And remember, before a data disaster strikes, the only surefire way to protect computers and the information they store is with automatic, remote data backup and recovery. In case of a Halloween horror, you can always roll back to an uninfected machine and restore unencrypted data if you do become infected.
If you’re plagued by IT horrors, haunted by cybersecurity threats, or disturbed by devastating downtime, CMIT Solutions can help. With multi-layered protection, network security, proactive monitoring, and secure data storage, we can keep your systems safe, your data secure, and your day-to-day operations up and running. If you want to prevent your office from turning into the scene of a horror movie this Halloween, contact CMIT Solutions today.