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Today’s business environment is constantly evolving into a complex cyber landscape, where technology permeates the core of international organisation. Hackers have made it their mission to disrupt businesses through data leaks, information theft and denial-of-service attacks. As a result, companies are no longer solely concerned about their productivity or revenue, but now have to be concerned with their reputation.

In this digital age, cybersecurity is no longer an option; it is a duty. Modern businesses need to understand and embrace the importance of cybersecurity and it needs to become a procedure that is more than just patches and firewalls. 

Although we may consider ourselves as tech-savvy young professionals, it is difficult to keep our knowledge of IT security up to date with the fast-moving landscape of cybercrime. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and technology is evolving faster than ever, which makes it a continuous struggle to stay a step ahead in this domain. Furthermore, there are several developments in the area that no one can predict – such as ransomware or quantum computing – and can take us by surprise.

Throughout this article, we will provide information on how you can better protect your business against cyber attacks and avoid falling victim to hackers. Here are our top 5 ways to improve your IT security:

1. Install Internet-Facing Firewalls

As computing becomes increasingly critical to daily life, hackers and cybercriminals are finding new and innovative ways to exploit systems and networks. This is why it’s important that you continually improve your IT security. One way to do this is to ensure that you install internet-facing firewalls from a reputable manufacturer on all of your systems. These firewalls ensure the integrity of your data, files, and devices by blocking unauthorized access. 

Without these firewalls in place, you’re at risk of more than just a loss of data – with GDPR now in place you could be looking at a hefty fine for any significant leaked sensitive information. Internet-facing firewalls allow for protection where it matters most. If your business doesn’t currently utilise these protective systems, it should be a top priority for you if you want to avoid future breaches or potential financial losses.

If you are unsure about how to install these firewalls, learn how IT support services can boost your security without the hassle!

2. Avoid Free Antivirus Software

When considering whether to install security software, you should take into account all possible factors – both financial and otherwise. Although most of the time installing security software can be beneficial, there are situations where it can backfire.  For example, free antivirus software is often not up to the high standards you would expect from paid-for programs; it can be plagued with issues and often presents a false sense of security. You could even make the problem worse by downloading more viruses onto your device.

A good quality, paid antivirus software is the best choice for individuals who are serious about protecting their IT security. It is a necessary investment for any business that handles any sensitive data or personal information, to avoid the potential risks of a cyber attack.

3. Train Your Users

Users are the easiest, and most common, target for attacks as they are often the least protected. One of the best ways to improve this is by training your users. First, you need to make sure that everyone understands and knows how to follow basic security guidelines (don’t share passwords and keep antivirus programs up-to-date). 

Then, make sure they know what suspicious activity looks like and what it can lead to (a malware infection, an account lockout). In addition to this, you should have a plan for what users should do in case of a security incident. If they know how to react when the worst happens they’ll be able to recover from it much faster and more effectively.

Training is also important because it makes everyone fully aware of their own risks and responsibilities. Once they understand what’s at stake, users will be less likely to click on suspicious links or download suspicious files. Finally, make sure your training is more than just showing a bunch of slides in a conference room, get out there and show them how things are done! If you really want people to become more aware of their security habits, you need to get their hands dirty and show them everything from beginning to end so they can see how the security measures work.

4. Update Your Software Regularly

One of the easiest ways to keep your information secure online is to regularly update your software. Software companies constantly fix security holes and sneak in new features that improve performance, so staying on top of updates gives you an advantage against malicious threats trying to exploit those vulnerabilities. Even if a new update isn’t announced, there always seems to be a day where everyone is surprised by a sudden critical update and has to upgrade as quickly as possible. Once you’ve installed all of the updates, maintain your security advantage by configuring your software so it automatically downloads and installs updates without any effort on your part.

Top tip: if you’re not sure which software to go for or need support updating your systems, our IT System Upgrade Plans could offer the perfect solution!

5. Control Admin Account Use

Your company’s admin account is the highest level of access that your employees have to your network, this means that they can view anything and everything on your system. This also means that if someone with malicious intent were to gain access to it, they would likely be able to bring down pretty much all company operations. Monitoring what each employee does with their account is important, not only to protect the company, but also the employees. 

One of the best ways to protect this unauthorised and unrestricted systems access is to limit the use of your company admin account to only those who require it. Make sure employees aren’t sharing accounts and that everyone has individually named accounts for best protection, as well as training users of the admin account in added cybersecurity measures.

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At Binary Blue, we take all the hassle out of business tech for you, giving you time to focus on the more exciting parts of your business. We are credited with a Microsoft Gold-Partner status, which our outstanding data security and management services, alongside all of our other managed IT services for small companies, reflect. Contact us today to learn more!