Building an efficient IT department and strong tech culture is a team effort that requires the cooperation of every employee. From your newest hire to your CEO, all team members need to know what constitutes good cyber hygiene, understand how they contribute to cybersecurity, and commit to following stated policies and protocols.
Ramp Up Security with a Strong IT Department
An effective technology strategy that protects your assets and helps you reach your goals starts with people. People are the gatekeepers of your data, and they are a critical link in your security chain. They also have the potential to be the weakest link in that chain if they don’t know and follow technology best practices.
Here are six ways to keep your IT department running smoothly and help team members contribute to a strong, secure technology culture.
1. Use a Password Manager
HelpNet Security recently reported that 54% of employees reuse passwords across multiple work accounts. Many of those employees keep track of their passwords either by memory or by writing them down. These habits create security vulnerabilities across your organization, putting you at risk of a data breach.
The good news is that password vulnerabilities can be addressed efficiently with a password manager like Password Boss. Password Boss makes it easy to manage passwords across your own organization as well as those of your clients with password security measures and management tools, including:
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Role-Based Access
- Remote Control Integration
- Secure Password Sharing
- Multi-Device Access
- Dark Web Scanning
These tools make it easier to increase security for your customers, manage all your client passwords in one central location, and monitor activity with usage logs and security audits.
2. Implement Privileged Access Management
Privileged accounts give users access to change security settings, install applications, access files, and almost anything else they want to do in your system. If these accounts get hacked, they give cyber attackers the “keys to the kingdom.”
Privileged access management (PAM) secures your privileged accounts by removing local admin rights and using the principle of least privilege to manage access. A PAM tool like AutoElevate works hand-in-hand with password management to prevent data breaches, while also giving authorized users access to admin accounts when necessary. In just a few clicks, AutoElevate delivers:
- Real-time, automated privilege management
- Removal of local admin rights
- Malware protection
- Least privilege access
- Audit and remediation capabilities
- Customized privilege elevation
3. Keep Software Upgrades and Maintenance Current
Software updates aren’t just for bug fixes. They also provide critical security upgrades, compatibility enhancements, improved functionality and stability, and better user experiences. Failing to stay up-to-date on new software version releases or upgrades can put your IT department at risk as team members use non-secure workarounds to solve functionality or productivity issues.
For this reason, someone on your team should regularly monitor vendor updates and new releases as well as emerging security threats. Follow Microsoft’s update schedule regularly, and stay on top of regular maintenance tasks such as:
- Risk assessment and prioritization
- License updates
- Antivirus scans and updates
- Software and hardware inventory
- Software version updates
- Regular backups
4. Implement Security Controls for Remote Workers
The increase of remote work in the wake of the pandemic has created an urgent need for security policies specifically designed for the remote work environment. According to SHRM, up to two-thirds of American employees work remotely at least part of the time. These workers should receive training on security risks they may encounter as well as remote cybersecurity best practices. In addition, organizations can improve the security of their remote workforce with:
- Cloud-Based File Sharing – Train remote workers (and all workers) to store sensitive information in the cloud rather than on individual drives or devices. While the public cloud may seem vulnerable, the truth is that today’s cloud storage options are far more difficult to hack than a private network or server.
- Virtual Private Networks – Virtual private networks allow your remote workers to access your company network securely. It masks their online location and activity so that it can’t be tracked, and data can be sent and received safely.
- Antivirus Software on All Remote Devices – Every device used by your remote workers should have antivirus software installed to combat cyber threats. Forbes recommends taking the additional step of eliminating Bring-Your-Own-Device policies so companies can standardize security measures across all digital assets.
- Encryption – Encryption is a fundamental security measure that protects confidentiality and authenticates the integrity of information both at rest and in transit. It prevents data from being stolen or compromised by scrambling data and messages, enabling access only with a unique digital key.
5. Train Employees in Cybersecurity Best Practices
All team members should receive cybersecurity training early and often. Every employee from the top down should receive ongoing training on the latest emergent threats and best practices to prevent data incidents or breaches. In particular, be sure employees understand the importance of :
- Recognizing phishing emails
- Creating strong, unique passwords
- Not sharing credentials
- Using only approved devices for work
- Following stated security policies
- Locking laptops when not in use
- Not discussing confidential information in a public place
- Not clicking on unknown links or pop-ups
6. Have Sufficient Insurance
The cost of a data breach is rising year over year, reaching upwards of $9 million on average in the U.S in 2022. To protect yourself in the event of a data incident, be sure both you and your clients have sufficient insurance:
- Ask Your Broker About Cyber Liability – Your broker can recommend the amount and types of cyber liability insurance you should carry. This includes what should be covered in the policy, what is excluded, and which carriers to consider.
- Carry Professional Liability Insurance – Professional liability insurance protects you from the cost of lawsuits that result from error or oversight. Both cyber liability and professional liability insurance should be carried.
- Require Clients to Carry Their Own Cyber Insurance – Encourage clients to talk to their insurance broker about how much insurance they should carry. Be sure they understand that insurance is a requirement of working with you and that they have considered all related costs.
Maximize Your IT Department Resources
Building a strong tech culture isn’t just about putting safeguards in place. It’s also about using technology to support and empower your team. By implementing the right resources, you can improve the security of your IT department as you build a future-ready technology culture.
Need help with password management or privileged access management? Contact us today!