Just like you protect your buildings, inventory, and employees, you also need to protect confidential information—that includes customer and employee information. Here are some precautions you should consider:
Many organizations avoid email encryption because it’s often seen as complicated or unnecessary, but it can be an effective tool. Email encryption scrambles information into an unintelligible mess of characters while it travels to the recipient. The information only unscrambles for the intended message recipient. Encryption is simple to set up and provides your business with protection that far outweighs the minor setup cost.
If an unauthorized person ends up with one of your unencrypted computers, tablets, phones, or removable storage disks, there’s nothing to stop them from accessing all your data stored on the machine. Full-disk encryption renders your files illegible without a correct password, preventing an attacker with physical possession of your device from accessing the data stored on it.
Desktop/laptop computers and encryption
Many servers, desktops, and laptops include encryption software by default—although it may not be enabled. For example, the BitLocker full-disk encryption program comes preinstalled on most professional and enterprise versions of Windows. On Apple computers, FileVault 2 provides full-disk encryption on the latest versions of the Mac operating system.
Mobile devices are more likely to be lost or stolen than desktop computers. That’s why you need to consider mobile device encryption in your security plan. Like desktop and laptop computers, many popular mobile device manufacturers include an encryption feature in their operating systems. However, it may not be enabled by default, so you must ensure it’s on. Also consider additional security measures, like requiring a password to unlock the screen on mobile devices.
A password is the first-line defense against an attacker and your organization’s confidential data. Strong passwords are those that:
- Include at least 14 characters—a longer password is better
- Use a mix of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers, and special characters
- Contain no easy-to-guess passwords (username, dog’s name, birthdays)
- Contain no default passwords (admin, password, 1234)
Good password habits are also very important. You can avoid common pitfalls with the following tips:
- Don’t reuse work passwords for personal accounts and devices, or vice versa
- Don’t tell anyone your password, regardless of who’s asking
- Don’t keep your password on a piece of paper with a mobile device
Removable storage devices
USB drives or external hard drives also require protection. When buying, look at devices with built-in encryption. For instance, IronKey encrypted flash drives provide industry-standard encryption and they self-erase after 10 unsuccessful password attempts.
If you buy a laptop or USB drive without encryption already built in, you can use special encryption software to create encrypted volumes within a normal file system, or encrypt the whole device.
At Hortica, we want to assist you in protecting your business by providing the information and resources you need to help prevent losses before they happen. Contact us and let’s have a conversation about protecting your critical data.
Learn more about protecting your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.
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