Security gaps in a business network can have serious financial consequences. IBM’s Cost of Data Breach Study shows that data breaches cost almost $4 million dollars each. In fact, the amount has increased 23 percent since 2013. Therefore, following these six security tips will keep your network safe.

External Testing

The security strength of every network should be tested. That is, consider hiring an authorized hacker to externally penetrate the network. They will be able to identify vulnerabilities, exploit weaknesses and benchmark the security strength of your network. They can also use social engineering scams, such as email phishing, to test employees’ basic IT knowledge. An IT professional with hacking skills is much better than simply using a security vulnerability scanner.

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Internal Testing

External threats aren’t the only security risk. To be sure, employees are also a serious concern. Any ignorant or disgruntled employee can cause a large amount of harm through exploiting security weaknesses. Therefore, consider also using an authorized hacker to internally attempt to steal data and access sensitive files.

Risk Assessment

After external and internal testing is complete, perform a holistic risk assessment. This should involve not only the IT department, but management and the authorized hacker. If possible, survey employees to gauge their comprehension of real-world security threats. The end result should be a solid risk assessment overview and action plan with measurable security goals.

Risk Plan

Part of the risk assessment involves creating an incident response plan. Unfortunately, most companies spend a lot of money on security technology without ever having a structured plan for certain scenarios. On the most basic level, the plan should detail the specific actions IT and management will take in case of an attack or breach. There should also be procedures on how to communicate with clients and employees after the breach.

Backup Test

Malicious hackers aren’t the only serious security risk that companies face. Data loss, due to equipment failure or data corruption, should be an ongoing concern. While cloud computing offers better data protection, many companies still rely on physical servers for data storage. Consider testing backups to make sure that they properly work.

Reliable IT Services

Sometimes an internal IT department can’t keep up with the wide range of security demands. Even other IT problems, such as system outages, can severely disrupt operations and revenue. A third-party IT service company may be beneficial for certain functions and will improve efficiency, reduce risk and increase savings. Ottawa managed services like anit-malware services can help protect your business.

IT security gaps need ongoing attention and if possible, the help of external IT experts. Performing internal and external testing, together with a risk plan and assessment, will keep your company safe.