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Is My Business Network Vulnerable to an Attack?

No matter how hard you work to secure your system, cyber criminals are working just as hard or harder to break into your data. But is it possible to have a system that is completely invulnerable to attack? Or will there always be a way for a thief to squeeze through a crack and exploit your data? And if that’s the case, what can you do to keep your customers’ personal data secure?

Week after week another retail giant with deep pockets reports that they’ve been breached. Recently, Jimmy John’s reported a data breach that affected over 200 stores in Northern Indiana and Chicago. In this case, criminals used stolen log- in credentials to access customer’s information from a remote location. Worse yet, many companies do not like to admit the depth of their breach, as with Home Depot, which initially downplayed the extent of their data breach earlier this year.

Cyber criminals are always on the lookout for a weak spot in your system to exploit. Some of these are in an attempt for financial gain, while other criminals do it just for the thrill of breaching a company’s security system.

The top entry points for data hackers

Use of default or ridiculously easy passwords. This is directly related to human behavior, and it’s the easiest thing to correct. Don’t worry about the chance that your employees will remember the password–change it from the default settings as soon as possible.

Mis-configured firewalls are almost as bad as having no firewall at all because they lead you to a false sense of security.

Un-patched Operating System and Application Vulnerabilities. The simple act of updating OS and applications can reduce this vulnerability. No matter how inconvenient the down time may be, taking the time to install updates and patches can remove many of your system’s vulnerabilities.

Sometimes, however, the invader manages to outwit the system. The “Bash” software has been identified by security experts as capable of launching even with a properly executed security patch.

Tips for avoiding a data breach

Outsource your payment processing; resist the temptation to try and keep all of your data on your own network all of the time. In 2006 the Payment Card Industry (PCI) created a set of self-policing standards ensure the safety of customer data during an electronic transaction. A company that specializes in securing payment data is better equipped to ensure that their data network has sufficient safeguards in place to keep the data safe.

Educate and train your employees on maintaining a safe network. Human error and laziness are more often than not the source of poor security. By explaining to employees that their log in credentials must be help confidential and holding them to keeping them confidential, you can eliminate the most avoidable causes of data breaches.

Ensure that your browser, operating system, router and data are secure. One of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to get into a personal or commercial network is to take advantage of outdated software. Installing recommended updates to each point of your system reduces the chance that any particular point can be exploited.

Stay informed about potential threats on the horizon. Sure, the major media networks often report on vulnerabilities after a breach has happened, but smaller niche blogs are often on the forefront of what’s happening in data security.

If you are at a loss for setting up and maintaining a secure network, your best bet is to call in a data security specialist. As recent news stories have demonstrated, correctly managing data is not something that can be achieved through guess work. Call 312-612-8200 to discuss your IT security needs.