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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Global network security illustration with tiles, locks, and binary

According to the FBI…

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in data breaches resulting in the compromise of personally identifiable information of thousands of Americans.

These breaches include intrusions into financial, corporate, and government networks, and complex financial schemes committed by sophisticated cybercriminals against businesses and the public in general. It is vital that all individuals and companies do their part of being aware of and educated on cybersecurity.
There are many tips and actions you can take to keep your business secure. Here are some critical areas relating to cybersecurity that we found many companies lack.

Password Protection

Passwords are created every day for users in the workforce. With most employees having their own workstations or remote access into servers, it is crucial that your business have a password policy in place. Your strategy should begin with strong, complex password requirements. Passwords should be unique and something that others cannot easily guess or have access to (hint: don’t write your passwords down on sticky notes attached to your monitor or desk). Implementing a password change policy is also essential. Require users to change their passwords periodically. A strong password policy can also prevent employees from using the same passwords over and over.

Train Employees

You can have the best IT staff/company/solutions in place, but, without proper training, employees will be your weakest link, and often the flaw that opens your business to an attack. While some of this training is technical by nature, it’s an excellent opportunity to verify your staff understands company policies you expect them to follow regarding internet and e-mail safety. After all, they have a responsibility to protect customer and colleague information within your business. The Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security states, “You have a very important role to play in cybersecurity…the responsibility for cybersecurity does not fall solely on the IT department. Everyone – from the entry-level employee to the CEO – has a responsibility to implement basic best practices.”

Plan for An Attack

You can hope a cyber-attack never happens to your business, however, in today’s climate, it’s no longer “if” but “when.” The only real remedy is to plan for it. Identifying your vulnerabilities through a network assessment is a great place to start. An IT expert can review your system to see exactly where someone could get into your network. From the results of the assessment, you should then create a plan for fixing any issues that introduce more risk than you are comfortable with, as well as defining what to do in the event of an attack. Having a plan in place could be the difference between your business surviving an attack, or not.

At Garner IT, we keep our clients up to date on the best practices for cybersecurity year-round, not just in October. We also offer a Free Network Health Check for businesses, which provides you with valuable information – or at least verification – about how well prepared your business network is for a disaster or attack. To schedule your Free Network Health Check, give us a call at 850.250.3210 or drop by our offices at 1330 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Bay County, Florida. We are happy to answer all your queries and provide customized solutions.

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