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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) so for the next month we will be sharing blog posts, reports, and tips on keeping yourself safe online. As Stay Safe Online champions we will be sticking to their weekly themes for all of our blog posts!

The first week of NCSAM is all about the steps to keeping yourself safe online.

Stay Safe Online offers some quick advice:

  • STOP: make sure security measures are in place
  • THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behavior online
  • CONNECT: and enjoy the internet

These steps are important in making sure the internet stays a safe and enjoyable place for everyone.

One of the most important parts is to make sure you have all the right security measures in place. These measures include antivirus and firewalls, mobile device security, and the ability to detect and prevent intruders from finding a way into your network.

Antivirus & Firewalls

In 2013 Microsoft reported that 24% of PC’s were not protected by up-to-date antivirus software, and four years later a shocking number of businesses still don’t have proper antivirus software installed and don’t have a procedure in place to ensure that all company devices have this software installed. We’ve talked a lot on our blog about Next-Gen Security and how modern security is a lot more complicated than it used to be, but it all starts with standardized antivirus software and a network firewall to keep you protected. This applies no matter how large or small your business is.

Intrusion Detection & Prevention

Once you’ve laid the groundwork with your antivirus and firewall, it’s important to make sure you’re proactive when it comes to the rest of your security. Intrusion prevention and detection systems are the next step to ensure you’re staying safe online. These solutions analyze your systems and internet traffic in real time to detect anyone trying to gain access to your network. If a threat is detected, the system will prevent its access to the network by blocking the connection or taking other appropriate measures like alerting your IT team to the threat. Intrusion detection and prevention systems go beyond a static set of rules determining who to allow on the network and who to block by looking at behavioral indicators and known threat signatures as well as usually benefiting from the global threat intelligence provided by the system’s vendor.

Mobile Device Management

After you have these things in place for your network and company-owned devices, it’s time to think about employee-owned devices that have access to sensitive information and potentially access to your internal network. One critical type of tool in this realm is known as a Mobile Device Management solution, and we can’t stress the importance of these capabilities enough in this day and age. The fact of the matter is that your employees are bringing personal devices onto your network, and mobile devices are just as susceptible to malware and hackers with malicious intent as your company-owned devices. As a responsible business you need to ensure that your employees devices are secured appropriately to protect your customers and your business from malware threats, leaked or destroyed data, and destruction of your company’s ability to work day-to-day.

This post is titled “Simple Steps to Online Security”, but these 3 things might not sound so simple. And in truth they sometimes aren’t. Online Security isn’t exactly simple anymore, and that’s why we recommend consulting and working with a provider that knows the ins and outs of security. If you’re a business in the Austin area and would like to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep your business and employees safe online, give us a call!