Security

Grounded Planes, Halted Stocks: Why Today's Scary String of Tech Glitches Matter

Grounded Planes, Halted Stocks: Why Today's Scary String of Tech Glitches Matter
Image credit: William Iven
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Many an IT department was in emergency mode today. United Airlines grounded all flights thanks to a network connectivity issue this morning while the New York Stock Exchange dealt with its own internal tech issue that temporarily suspended trading. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal was working to fix an outage that downed its site.

While everything seems to be back in order, and the Department of Homeland Security and White House each claim there was no foul play behind the glitches, the scary string of events is a reminder to businesses everywhere that protecting your tech systems and online property is of utmost importance.

There are many tools and strategies you can use to keep your company and employee information secure. Here are five.

1. Equip every device with security software and make sure it's kept up to date.

Across all company computers, especially those mobile devices that employees use to work remotely make sure that they are set up with current and regularly updated firewall, malware and spyware software programs. Constantly be scanning for holes or potential issues in your system.

Read more: 4 Ways Your Small Business Can Better Prevent Cyber Crime

2. Check your email.

As the recent Sony hack shows us, an email leak can be devastating. Be on guard for emails that come with any unusual attachments, or ones that ask for passwords, credit card or bank information, or your Social Security number. Never answer them or forward them -- report them immediately. And look into encrypting your company emails even if you aren't always dealing with super sensitive information.

Read more: Do This to Prevent Cyber Crime and Save Your Business from Disaster

3. Change up your passwords. 

Because it can never be said enough, change your passwords regularly. And don't even think about doing some sort of variation on “12345” or “password.” Come up with passwords using mnemonics or memorable phrases as a base instead. Don't use the same password across all your accounts and utilize two-factor (or more) authentication.

Read more: Password Statistics: The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly (Infographic)

4. Watch payments carefully. 

For many big retailers, weaknesses within point of sale systems have made it easy for hackers to pounce. Make sure your system is up to date and compliant with all of the current regulations. Also, while it may seem counterintuitive, consider externalizing your payment processing system; having an in-house system can create a “one-stop shop” for hackers.

Read more: Avoiding the 'Inevitable' Breach: 4 Ways Retailers Should Amp Up Security

5. Vet the outside companies you work with.

If you outsource anything involving customer information to third parties, whether it is credit card information, addresses or something else, thoroughly research the security systems that they have in place. If anything seems off or missing to you, look to work with another firm. Make sure you are satisfied that you and your customers will be secure.

Read more: 5 Tips to Protect Your Business From Hackers

Edition: December 2016

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