The media doesn’t splash the story when network security thwarts a hack. They do, however, give serious play to high-profile data breaches. That can give the impression that security isn’t getting tighter, when that’s exactly what’s happening. But a company with a secure network can become a victim of its own success.
When the corporate network proves difficult to penetrate, hackers start looking for softer targets. This can include laptops your employees use to access the work network.
Securing laptops usually starts with the software, but that often works only if users follow the rules—and we know they don’t. They will connect to public hotspots that aren’t secure. They will click links in emails and open attachments they shouldn’t. They will visit websites that are anything but businesslike. They will try to outsmart IT using their own devices or unauthorized cloud software.
Securing devices at the hardware level means fewer sleepless nights for IT professionals. That’s why the IDC estimates that about 90 percent of enterprise endpoints will include some degree of hardware-based security by 2017.
Hardware security options
1. Encrypting data on laptops
Encryption means no data headaches from lost, stolen, or hacked laptops, provided that strong and frequently changed passwords are required, with two-factor verification where possible.
2. Built-in security
When replacing a laptop, look for enterprise-grade security built into the hardware or firmware, such as the following:
- Preboot authentication
- Self-encrypting drives
- Remote wiping capabilities
- Self-healing BIOS
Keep up the fight on the software front
Good hardware-level protection doesn’t mean you can give up fighting on the software front.
1. Virtual private network
Insist that your employees access the Internet only through a virtual private network that encrypts the traffic to and from their laptops, even when traveling through the wild west of public WiFi hotspots. Make it easy to use, so they’re not as tempted to ignore your insistence.
2. Antivirus software
Make sure your fleet is running effective and up-to-date antivirus, malware & web-filtering software.
The default Windows firewall is not secure enough. Choose something secure enough to stop Trojans and other malware from phoning home.
4. Update all software
It isn’t just antivirus and firewall software that you need to keep updated. Install all the patches your software vendors provide, preferably automatically.
Back it all up
Sometimes even the most valiant and prepared fighters lose the battle. Prepare for when that day might come by ensuring your users’ laptops are backed up frequently enough so that any data loss is not fatal.
That shouldn’t have to mean waiting until the laptop is plugged into an external drive or the corporate network. There are plenty of cloud backup solutions that can be running in the background wherever the user is connected to the Internet.
Need advice on data security? Want tips on backing up and protecting your data? Call us at (484) 753-7200.