Three Security Best Practices for the Modern Era

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), making it the perfect time to revamp outdated policies and procedures that may be keeping your security stuck in the 20th century.

Here are three things that enterprises can immediately implement to improve their cybersecurity posture. These security best practices won’t put a major dent in your IT budget and don’t require much in the way of new staff or skills either.

1. Change All Your Default Passwords on Network Infrastructure

Devices such as routers, switches and Web servers need more secure passwords. Chances are pretty good you’ve probably missed a few units, and now is the time to review your entire portfolio and make sure that you haven’t left any default passwords unchanged. This is the easiest way for a cybercriminal to enter your enterprise — and also the easiest way to beef up your security.

Make sure you check oddball network-attached devices such as cameras, printers and specialized equipment. If it has an IP address, it should have a unique password. This needs to be done when you acquire new equipment or make major changes to your infrastructure.

2. Do an Audit of Your Wi-Fi Access Points

There are numerous inexpensive tools that audit access points. The SANS Institute offered information on completing network audits using open-source tools, for example.

Make sure all access points are accounted for by your IT department and not a rogue unit that one of your users has put online. They all need to be secured with a strong password and running the latest security protocols, which may vary slightly from standard Wi-Fi protected access. You should also schedule audits periodically since conditions with regard to Wi-Fi networks can quickly and frequently change.

3. Recommend (or Better Yet, Require) PINs on Users’ Smartphones

A recent study from IBM showed that almost 40 percent of companies, including many in the Fortune 500, aren’t properly securing their mobile apps. While some may resist taking an extra step to unlock their phones, anyone who has ever lost or misplaced a mobile device knows this is the first line of any defense.

There are many mobile management tools that require PINs, but the easiest solution is just better education and heightened awareness among the organization about why this is important. Apple’s recent move towards six-digit PINs with iOS 9 is a perfect example. Educate employees regarding why the passcodes are important and how they can create PINs that will be memorable and secure.

These three security best practices aren’t rocket science, and they aren’t expensive. But they can go a long way toward improving your overall security posture.

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David Strom

Security Evangelist

David is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, video blogger, and online communications professional who also...