4 Best Tips for securing your IT systems

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Tech professionals have long extolled the virtues of secure IT systems, yet data insecurity remains a huge problem for individuals and businesses (just ask HBO, Comcast, CVS, or the U.S. government). Don’t believe it? Look at the numbers.

Studies have shown that companies are attacked an average of 16,856 times per year and that 43% of companies experienced a data breach in 2013. What’s worse is that these are not meager attacks, but sophisticated attacks that result in a quantifiable data breach. When data is compromised, companies suffer a loss in their reputation and brand (29% of funds), lost productivity (21%), lost revenue (19%), forensics (12%), technical support (10%), and compliance regulatory costs (8%).

And every minute of a shuttered IT system costs money. A USA Today survey of 200 data center managers found that over 80% of these managers reported that their downtime costs exceeded $50,000 per hour.

What can you do to protect your company’s data?

1. Have a disaster recovery plan in place.

It’s not just malicious hackers who can shut down your IT systems, sometimes it’s mother nature. Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy not only resulted in physical devastation, but also data devastation for businesses and non-profits that did not have a data recovery plan in place. Having a backup disaster plan allows you to prepare for the worst and react quickly to recover your data should disaster strike.

2. Invest in multiple back-ups.

Everyone knows that you should back-up your data, but what about a back-up for your back-up? External hard-drives are popular methods for backing up your data should your IT systems shut down, but don’t just rely on it solely. Companies that wisely made a copy of their data on external hardrives were dismayed that they couldn’t access their devices after Hurricane Sandy because their office was under water or otherwise unreachable. Furthermore, external hardrives are not infallible. There are 140,000 hard drive crashes a week in the U.S. Cloud storage is another good line of defense should an act of god wreak havoc on your information.

3. Make sure all employees have a basic understanding of your IT systems.

At many organizations, all the tech knowledge resides in one or two people. Not only is this not very effective because all problems have to be addressed by one person, but it’s also not very safe. According to software insurance provider, Safeware, 29% of data loss occurs because of human error. If more people had adequate IT systems knowledge your company might be able to avoid an unfortunate data loss scenario.

4. Consult security system experts.

If the challenges of securing your company data seem too much, consider hiring an IT business. A good IT business service will evaluate your current IT systems, make recommendations for beefing up security, and other everyday IT services.

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