2016-03-18Cybercrime to the tune of £ 21 billion and security breaches in 44% of all businesses? Yes, and probably more, actually. What is reported in the media is often approximation and it is anybody’s guess what the real figures might be. We have all witnessed things in the headlines, large-scale data breaches internationally, like the case of personal data of employees being hacked in America. There is reason to suspect that insider jobs are responsible because the lure of lucre makes fools of us all. Perhaps a worker decides to sell some information and makes a deal, all online. The maintenance staff that comes around each year gets to access the innermost recesses of the computer systems anyway, and who knows what they are up to. If you are heading an online enterprise that needs to guard sensitive data, the case is not lost yet. If the digital world was clever enough to create intense magical wonders in a mighty range of gadgets, solutions may certainly be found. Besides, it is an ongoing race and we hardly know what waits in the future though we have an inkling of things to come. Well, living in the virtual reality world, we need to tread carefully, or shall we say dream with care. Instead of sensational facts and figures that would scare you even more, get down to the task of ensuring online security. Statistics is important though. In 2013, 83% of residences in England had internet connections. Compared to 2010, mobile phone web connections have doubled. That speaks immense volumes of internet penetration and even the remote deserts and mountains have come within its domains. We live in a world where information travels the world almost for free and even the cats and dogs seem to be enlightened beings under the influence. Perhaps the best policy is the open access and experts believe that a time would come when it would be impossible to keep any data secure at all with the advanced systems! The security worry would be gone anyway. Though it may be termed invasion of privacy, monitoring employees at their work-stations that invariably includes the computer nowadays, seems to be quite justified. Besides, most employees spend a lot of valuable office time surfing the web and all it hidden wonders. Certain insecure websites, not to speak of fake imitation sites that exist only to steal data thrive well on those uncharted oceans of the web. By monitoring, it would be possible to know what websites are being visited, how much work is being done and times of idleness too. When the unthinkable data breach happens, it would be easier to focus on the possible leaks and the persons responsible. Waste of office time on social media could also be curtailed and thus productivity increased. Technically complicated all right, but such monitoring has become quite possible. Reasonable employees would accept the need for such staff supervision. Would employee tracking be really possible? Considering alarming statistics of 78% of bigger establishments and 63% of smaller ones being troubled by security breaches within a year, growing 41%, it is time to get into action mode instead of taking things for granted. Investments in equipment would be necessary of course like if you wished to install a spy camera that constantly records employee activities for review. More expensive devices through WiFi would enable you to monitor the office scenario globally! Inexpensive strategies would bring a firm grip Nowadays the law enforcement agencies have been using mobile applications too like Whatsapp to increase their reach and connect better and faster with the public. Almost every shop has installed CCTV to monitor what goes on in the interiors. Offices and factories too could install such devices that are far from costly. Close supervision in all the nooks and crannies would thus be possible. Phone conversation recording software is a well known ploy but that would apply only to work phones and employees must be told unless you wish to keep it all a secret because of certain reasons. Cases of information being divulged to competitors in the world of big business have been reported rather often. Disputes often arise about stealing models and systems and court settlements reach billions of dollars. Have you not read about all those cases? Start with the basics Have you heard of clickjacking, spearfishing, phishing and pharming? Threats are growing. Make sure that antivirus software with the firewall is regularly updated, paid and not the free versions. Be wary about friends on social networks since impersonation is relatively easy. Training employees regarding potential security threat hazards would pay off with a dedicated task force, especially the seniors who may not be very up to date. External audits should be coming often to make sure that systems are working well and no viruses have been wreaking havoc. Getting the bigger picture is crucial. Sensitive information on documents should be stored with an information management service and not let around in office computers. Computer software should be regularly updated even if it involves additional expense that the organization can ill afford. Older software is more likely to be breached. In recent times we hear a lot about encryption for safety purposes that refers to sensitive data. Wireless networks are similarly encrypted with WPA. Some things that apply to personal life apply to business too. Passwords for instance get to multiply because of a range of accounts in business websites that the office deals with. A minor leak and a lot could be compromised. If emails get scammed, what the office is doing, when and where would be known to the public. Passwords should be complex enough and changed now and then. Recording passwords should be done carefully perhaps, in a diary stored away in a locker. PINs too require a great deal of care. Bank account numbers are often primary targets! They should be considered as top secret and never revealed to anybody where the slightest doubt exists. The problem is that fake websites abound that look like the real thing, ready to snatch personal data. Be positive.