5 Ways to Protect Your Internal Company Data
Open Internet access is great for employees who need to research products and support, but it’s also a dangerous game when employees are able to browse questionable websites. Antivirus and firewall technology are obvious protection methods that have become a normal installation for a business network, but what about the not-so-obvious? Whether the business is small or large, here are five ways to secure user computers, corporate datacenters and company information stored on the network.
Use a Proxy Server
Proxy servers act as a middleman between users and the Internet. Proxy servers can be software or hardware technology. All Internet requests such as HTTP, DNS, and FTP filter through the proxy server. This technology has two advantages. First, the network administrator can monitor traffic. Using the monitoring capabilities, the IT manager can also block websites that host malware or have suspicious content.
Proxy servers can also speed up Internet queries by caching pages for users. This technique is beneficial if your internal network is maxed out on bandwidth usage. The proxy server returns the cached pages, so users do not use up bandwidth for pages they view often.
Encrypt All Data for Mobile Phone Users
With smartphones being such an important part for sales, support and data transfers, it’s important for business owners and IT managers to protect data transmitted wirelessly. Blackberries, iPhones and other smartphones allow users to collect data and then transfer that data to the business computer. This data may not affect the cell phone, but it can contain viruses for a desktop computer. Educate users that mobile phone technology is a primary target for hackers who want to gain access to the business network.
Encrypt Important Data on File Shares
What happens if a hacker or disgruntled employee gains access to confidential information? To protect important documents and data, the IT manager can take an extra step for protection and encrypt network drive data. This means that even if a hacker is able to gain access to the data, the data is unavailable unless the encryption scheme is hacked. Several companies sell encryption software for drives and data, so hackers will not be able to read the data even if they are able to copy it.
Keep Windows Security Updated
Most IT managers remember to keep antivirus software updated, but users in control of the Windows desktop can stop security updates. Microsoft deploys security updates through the Windows Update system. These updates protect the security of a desktop or laptop. These updates are especially important for users that take a laptop home and use it on a personal network. Although your network is secure, you can’t support the security of the employee’s network.
Conduct a Security Audit
If the business security is important, hire an IT firm to conduct a security audit. A security audit includes testing the firewall, the internal and public website code, the security on the desktops and servers and the security education of your employees. Security audits find problems with the company’s internal systems and educate you on best practices for future protection.
These few tips are inexpensive ways to protect the network. These tips are useful for small and medium businesses that need extra security for a growing staff count.