Computer Security Tips for the Workplace

Kris WilkinsonMarch 11, 2021

Computer security in a corporate environment is concerned with the security of physical computers (desktops, laptops, mobile devices) and installed software. It’s only one component of cyber security, which is concerned with the entire network, but it absolutely requires your attention. Today, we’re going to look exclusively at your hardware so that you can block yet another cyber crime gateway to your IT systems.

1. AV and Firewall

You’re familiar with these computer security practices. While traditional, they are no less important. Be sure to install anti-virus software on your computer. Skip the free AV versions however, as they typically won’t include the most current security patches. A small investment will go a long way towards securing company computers. Beyond viruses, find an AV subscription that offers protection against malware and spyware. In addition, verify that a computer system’s firewall is turned on, or install a better version. A firewall acts as a barrier between company computers and any unauthorized programs trying to access them through the internet.

2. Update Everything

Make it mandatory to update all office and remote staff desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones with the most recent operating system and software. Updates commonly include security patches to address new vulnerabilities. Waiting even one day to permit an update can open your business up to risk, so turn on “automatic update” allowances and have the IT team check to ensure that updates have indeed been completed.

3. Use Better Business Productivity Software

Software is the channel to your computer for cyber criminals. By choosing better business productivity solutions, you mitigate this risk.

For example, more and more companies are choosing the subscription-based Microsoft Office 365 over traditional MS Office not only for more robust productivity solutions, but for security features that protect the network, computers included. One feature that assists in this, is Microsoft Secure Score, an enterprise-class report card for cyber security. View more on how to leverage Microsoft Secure Score to help keep Office 365 usage free from cyber crime.

4. Train Staff on Common Computer Attacks

The best line of defence may be staff awareness. They are the ones being bombarded by malicious solicitations via email and SMS and one wrong click or tap can wreak havoc on company computers and ultimately the entire network.

While computer security training should be provided from top to bottom, identify staff who is at a greater risk of being targeted by email phishing schemes. This includes the following personnel (as applicable):

  • Customer service staff
  • Accounting staff
  • Administration staff
  • Social media staff
  • Executives (you!)

View more on the top phishing targets your organization needs to protect. and when preparing your staff training lesson be sure to reference our guide to better email security.

5. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication on Computers and Devices

Whether concerned about idle computers when the office is closed, or worried about remote staff leaving their laptops, tablets, or smartphones at a cafe, you will find comfort when the hardware is protected by Two-Factor Authentication (TFA or 2FA). TFA requires two recognized factors for authentication. One is typically something a user knows (such as a password) while the other will be something they have (example: another device to receive a code on), or something that is a physical part of the user, such as a fingerprint. Look no further than Apple Face ID or Windows Hello as an example. With FTA, a user can be required to enter a password and then prove their identity with a fingerprint or facial scan. With TFA set-up on staff computers and devices, you won’t have to worry (as much) about them falling into the wrong hands. View more on Two-Factor Authentication.

6. Use Bitlocker

If you leverage Microsoft 365 as a business productivity solution (as recommended in item #3 above) and use a Windows 10 operating system you will be able to enjoy the security benefits of BitLocker Drive Encryption. This data protection feature addresses the threats of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or decommissioned computers. If a company desktop or laptop goes missing, you will have some peace of mind when you’ve enabled this security feature. Learn more about Bitlocker drive encryption.

7. Back Up All Data

No matter how strictly your business environment follows the security best practices above, computers may be compromised. To ensure business continuity and to avoid having your data held for ransom, back up all computer files to the cloud. Better yet, institute a cloud to cloud back up plan for good measure.

Need a cloud partner? Housed exclusively in Canada, SIRKit will host your critical services using a powerful and private Cloud Server. We offer an affordable and reliable way for your company to host and protect critical systems and information. In the unfortunate event that your computers are compromised, we’ve got you covered. Learn more about the SIRKit360 Cloud or simply contact us today to discuss.