4 Ways to Tell if Your Office’s Network is Really Cyber Secure

Your office network serves as a platform for communicating both internally and with the outside world. With these tremendous capabilities, however, come a number of potential security risks, and the potential damage that can be done to your company is substantial. However, a bit of vigilance can go a long way toward keeping your data safe, and taking a survey of your current security helps you identify areas where improvement is needed. Here are four ways to tell if your cyber strategy is effective.

Is Everything Updated?

Nearly all software has security bugs, and would-be hackers are quick to exploit any bugs they can to gain access to sensitive information and potentially cause damage to your technology infrastructure. They key to ensuring proper security is making sure everything is updated on a regular basis and that automatic updates aren’t skipped.

Perhaps the most important pieces of software to update are your operating systems. Regardless of which operating systems you use, you’ll want to make sure updates are enabled and, preferably, performed automatically. These updates are needed on every computer attached to your network, including desktops and laptops. Keep a close eye on legacy hardware as well; it’s easy to forget about updates to an old print server, for example, and talented hackers can access these servers to gain a foothold into your network. These security risks are even more significant in the Internet of Things era, so make sure to keep a thorough list of network-attached devices and perform regular checks.

Consider The Human Element

No matter how secure your network is, there’s also one vulnerability vector you can’t completely eliminate: Humans. If any employee with network access is compromised, your entire network can come under attack and potentially be compromised.

Consider mandated security quizzes for employees from time to time. In particular, you’ll want to test your employees to see if they know the most clear signs of phishing attacks, which are among the easiest to perpetrate and the most destructive. Pay special attention to employees with the highest levels of access as they provide the most direct path to significant big data breaches.

Monitoring and Logging

Because proper security often turns into a cat-and-mouse game, only preparing for known and well-understood attacks might not be enough to ensure your network security. Check out what monitoring capabilities your network has so you can look out for signs of suspicious activity. Consider investing in solutions that automatically detect unusual events and send alerts to those who know how to respond appropriately.

Logging can also help you detect if your network has been under attack or if it’s been compromised. Note, however, that hackers often try to erase logs to hide their activity. Make sure your logs are stored or backed up somewhere where a hacker would have trouble identifying or deleting them.

Data Policies

Companies often develop ad hoc policies for sharing data, and these policies can lead to potentially disastrous results. Check to find out how employees are sharing data, programs and other information with each other to seek out potential leaks.

File sharing, as an example, offers a tremendous amount of convenience. However, it also increases your potential attack surface considerably, so make sure to put strong policies in place to prevent incursions. In general, it’s best to have employees share files on dedicated file servers whenever possible. Again, make sure to pay special attention to the human factor. Simply attaching an important document to an email can be a convenient way to share information, but doing so also places potentially critical data at risk if your email system is compromised.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.