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IT security: 5 things every professional needs to know

Compromised IT security is a growing problem facing modern businesses. As of 2017, 98 percent of companies surveyed had experienced web-based attacks, with the financial, legal and other industries handling sensitive data being most at risk.

A cybercriminals’ power lies in their victims’ ignorance; many businesses are simply unaware or don’t know how to protect themselves against IT security threats. Luckily, secure cloud services such as Office 365 are offering companies new ways to combat evolving issues.

In this blog, we highlight five key things you need to consider to avoid falling victim to an attack and the Office 365 resources that can help keep your business secure whether you are.

1. Passwords are not enough

Security breaches occur for a number of different reasons. However, most of these attacks are caused by the most basic of IT security failures, such as weak passwords, with 21 percent of people still using passwords that are more than ten years old. Fortunately, there are better ways to secure sensitive data and ensure your employees work safely without compromising productivity.

One of Microsoft Office 365’s key cyber security measures is multi-factor authentication, which allows you to identify a user not only with their login details, but also with the device they are using. This feature can be used on third party apps including Dropbox and DocuSign, ensuring that even if a password is weak, your data remains secure.

2. You need to encrypt your emails

Though you might implement rigorous IT security policies to keep sensitive data out of the wrong hands, mistakes will happen. As a result, unauthorised users may still gain access to your email accounts despite password protection.

Encrypting your email disguises the content, rendering your emails unreadable and therefore useless to hackers. In Office 365, the Azure Rights Management, not only acts as an email encryption platform, but also allows users to easily set restrictions and provide permissions for other document sharing software (such as SharePoint) and Office documents both online and offline.

3. Stealing credentials is easier than you think

Unfortunately, phishing emails that trick users into giving away their credentials are still a major cause of IT security breaches. More than 90 percent of cyber attacks begin with phishing scams and more than 255,000 unique phishing attacks were reported in 2017 alone.

To reduce the likelihood of these attacks, Office 365 Advanced Threat Analytics monitors accounts and notifies users if any suspicious behaviour has been detected, business owners can then respond quickly before any credentials are stolen.

4. Your devices may be putting your business at risk

While embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) allows for an agile and collaborative workforce, integrating a poorly designed device could be catastrophic to your IT security.

Nests, routers and even personal wearable devices such as Fitbits can make your business vulnerable if connected to your professional network without following best practices.

Businesses embracing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are at greater risk of having personal devices lost or stolen, leaving sensitive data vulnerable.

Fortunately, there are ways to maintain centralised IT security without sacrificing working flexibility.

In this age where many private equity firms are embracing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) amongst their workforce, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), a function of Office 365, enables firms to make sure that sensitive data is stored separately to employee’s personal data, on their devices. If an employee loses their device, EMS allows users to delete all sensitive company data from the phone, without employees losing their own personal data, limiting the chances of data leaks, because of accidental loss of theft of a user’s device.

5. Not all IT security is created equal

When considering IT security investment, it’s important to weigh up your options and your business’s specific needs. While for some industries a basic security package may suffice, for those dealing with highly sensitive information, a solution that complies with industry standards and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is essential.

The evolution of IT security

Unfortunately, cybercrime shows no sign of slowing down. As hacker techniques become more sophisticated, businesses need to protect their data with more advanced solutions. We believe that Office 365’s leading security functions give our clients peace of mind, keeping their business and their data five steps ahead.

Why not contact us today to see how we can secure your business?

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