2017 Security Forecasts
As technology continues to change at the rate of lightning speed, it’s no surprise cyber security is a growing concern. But according to 2017 technology trend forecasters, security isn’t just an increasing issue – it’s THE issue.
Beth Stackpole, who has reported on business and technology for over 20 years, named security as the foremost priority for 2017 in her Technology Forecast for Computerworld. She cited results from Computerworld’s Forecast 2017 survey, which showed that 47% of respondents plan to increase budgets reserved for security technology.
Yet another forecast from Network World, written by CTO Scott Hogg of Global Technology Resources, addressed security issues in 4 out of 6 predictions. Hogg states that Cloud security, especially, is becoming increasingly important as more and more organizations harness the benefits of Cloud.
That’s Great, But What Does it Mean for UC?
You might be thinking:
“That’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with my UC or phone system?”
Let me answer that for you with 4 little words…
Whether you run a small business with only one or two phones or a large-scale corporation with an entire call center on hand, your phones are a security concern.
Or at least they should be.
For starters, nearly every phone in use today is somehow connected to the internet at one point or another, especially if you’re a mobile user. That means personal information stored on your phone about your business, your operations, your clients and prospects, is susceptible to an intrusion. However infrequently this may occur, it only takes one intrusion to produce a catastrophic effect for your business and its contacts.
Hogg has this to say on the matter, “It is not difficult to predict that more attackers will shift to mobile malware. Since most enterprises allow mobile devices to join the corporate internal Wi-Fi networks, those mobile devices can be just as lethal and allow attackers to gain access to the soft underbelly of the corporate enterprise.” Hogg cites predictions from Lookout and Ponemon Institute which state a mobile data breach could cost an enterprise $26.4 million.
Even a small business has employees who are accessing their mobile devices over business Wi-Fi networks, sometimes against company policy.
No business of any size can afford that kind of risk!
13 Steps Everyone Should Take to Protect Their Business
Never fear. As security risks become a growing concern, the solutions to combat them grow too. The following is a basic checklist of steps you can take to protect your network and keep your business information safe from cyber intruders:
- Always operate your computer as a regular user -never as administrator
- Have a firewall on every system you use
- Keep your anti-virus programs up-to-date at ALL times
- Avoid risky activities such as opening attachments and downloading files from unknown sources
- Create strong passwords: include numbers, symbols, a mix of capital and lowercase letters, the longer the better, not easily guessed, and change them frequently. Make sure you apply passwords to routers, phone systems, and any other system in use which accesses internet
- It’s also good practice to use security questions (the answers to which are not easily guessed) and authentication steps such as text codes, pin numbers, etc.
For Your Employees:
- Have protocols in place on how to contain, analyze, and report security issues
- Set policies on technology use in the business which apply also to personal and mobile device use, and enforce them
- Have training and awareness programs in place which educate all staff about cyber security best practices and current events
Regarding Mobile Devices:
- Ask every mobile user to have some version of antivirus software installed on their device to prevent, detect, and remove malware
- Require personal device and mobile users to encrypt data, such as passwords, media files, business contact information, and mobile banking information, especially if they use their device for business purposes
- Require personal device and mobile users to have a secret pin, Touch ID, or password. If their device is used for business purposes, adopt a two-factor authentication method for added security
- Encourage employees to only download apps from trusted sources and only when an antivirus program is already installed onto the device
These tips, of course, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cyber security, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. They are practices your business should already be implementing to protect your network!
Sources: “2017 CIO priorities: If you do anything next year, do this” by Niel Nickolaisen, CTO of O.C. Tanner Co. – Dec. 2016; “Tech Forecast 2017: 5 key technologies to double down on now,” by Beth Stackpole for Computerworld – Dec. 14, 2016; “6 network and security trends you can expect in 2017,” by Scott Hogg for Network World – Dec. 9, 2016; “10 Network Security Tools and Tests Everyone Should Use,” Whitepaper by James Michael Stewart for Global Knowledge – Copyright 2014; “How to achieve secure mobile device management,” by Julian Weinberger for TechTarget – Dec. 2016; “Flexibility, speed needed for corporate data protection,” by Mekhala-Roy for TechTarget – Nov. 30, 2016; “Bolster voice security with these five critical tips,” by Chris Partsenidis for TechTarget – July 2016