Your company may depend on its computers for everything from business accounting to marketing and customer support. Make sure you take adequate precautions to deal with business IT security issues and keep your systems running smoothly.
There are many sources of threats to your business IT security. For instance:
- Data loss or corruption. Data is one of your biggest assets. Protect it from security issues including physical threats (fire, flood and the loss or theft of equipment containing data), malicious attacks and accidental deletion. Remember data protection rules too.
- Internet security issues. Hackers and cyber criminals may target your business systems, or you could be affected by malicious websites, dodgy software, viruses, Trojans, spyware or spam (junk email).
- Your employees. Whether by accident or design, the people in your business can be the biggest single source of business computer security problems. Carelessness, fraud or disgruntled employees can all cause security issues.
The losses caused by computer security issues like these can be enormous. How would you cope if your business lost its entire customer database, or couldn't send or receive emails?
Two sides to business IT security
There are two main elements involved in establishing good business computer security. You need to put the right technology and systems in place. But you also need to ensure everyone in your company understands why business IT security is important and works to achieve a high standard of security.
The Government has teamed up with the Open University to launch "Introduction to Cyber Security". It is a free, online course for IT professionals and individuals. It aims to raise awareness of cyber security and help people improve their knowledge and skills. Using this online course will help your business stay safe online.
Creating and enforcing clear and simple IT policies can also help employees understand what is expected and permitted and help minimise problems.
It can be difficult to get the balance right. If your processes and systems are restrictive, your staff will seek shortcuts to get the job done. However, if your processes are not rigorous enough, it will be easy for hackers, computer viruses or other security threats to take advantage.
Although your legal obligations - most notably data protection rules - are important, don't focus solely on these. Your obligations under the law tend to reflect good business computer security.
Implementing rigorous IT security controls doesn't just help to protect your business. It can also give you a competitive edge, helping you win new contracts. For example, the Government requires all suppliers of contracts involving personal information and some ICT products and services to hold a 'Cyber Essentials' badge.
Prevent and cure security issues
Aim to make business IT security an integral part of your company's IT equipment and services. Don't treat it as an afterthought. Think about security issues from day one - if you wait for a problem to occur before taking action, it's far too late!
There are many preventative measures you can take to build up your business IT security. There are certain essential computer protection tasks. These include installing security software, using a firewall and keeping all software up-to-date.
However, it's only by creating a proper security plan that you can really assess the security issues that could affect your business, the likelihood of them happening and the damage they might cause. Having a plan forces you to consider the risks methodically and plan your security provision properly.
As well as taking steps to stop security problems occurring in the first place, think about how you'd cope if something did go wrong. Considering your backup options is key - in the event of any security issues affecting your business, you'll want to get up and running again with minimal disruption.