September 12, 2016

Methods of Securing Hardware, Software and Data in Enterprises

Updated by subhakaran Nitijanandhan
In the age of the internet being all pervasive and data flowing freely between organizations and individuals, Hardware, Software, and Data Security have become a pressing need for all growing organizations. To get things started for your company has listed an approach to Security that can be implemented on various levels at IT Company:

computer security

Hardware Security

The first line of defense against theft should be for company hardware since physical theft is the most common and recurring of company property theft.

a. CCTV Cameras

The most obvious time-tested option here would be to employ CCTV cameras in all areas of the office where devices with proprietary data are located. The IT companies will have to install compact ceiling mounted cameras which are inconspicuous which should cover all active areas of the office. The only limitation to this is the initial investment and the continuing investment in security staff to monitor live video feed.

The cameras can be fitted with motion sensors in regions of low activity to save on power and monitoring need. (Howell, 2016)

b. High-Precision Motion Sensors Coupled with Night Vision Cameras

Places in an organization which have hypersensitive information stored in purely physical or hard copy form such as defense project blueprints, or bank Deposit vaults you will need a souped up version of the first option that is linked to alarms and automated doors that slam shut in case a highly monitored zone registers unwarranted movement. Motion Sensing Night Vision Cameras linked to alarm systems, and automated steel doors that snap shut may be the answer here. Or motion sensing laser system can be used. (Howell, 2016)

c. High Impact Low Investment Visible Deterrents

Once the first two options are covered the company will have to get down to the specific devices for security measures. A simple act of putting up a sticker that says “ Do not Tamper: Traceable Device” will deter many wannabe data bandits. The company can put such stickers on key points on a laptop or a desktop. Services such as Immobilize (RFID tag) help you mark and display protected property. (Howell, 2016)

d. Invisible Tagging

Companies such as Retain guard and Smart Water help you tag your electronic items such as a Laptop, Tablet, smartphone or PC with a permanent unmovable tag or an invisible ink to tag the item of your choice. Post theft it can be tracked easily to retrieve the said item. (Howell, 2016)

e. Multi-layered Hardware Protection

An office environment can have zones of varying vulnerability to theft and intentional damage to data. In this case, it is best to employ a variation of all the methods specified above to ensure maximum safety. The CCTV can be employed throughout the office campus since its working mechanism is pretty straightforward. In places where security is completely beyond compromise, with the fate of the company hanging on the said physical storage of data, Motion sensors coupled with night vision cameras and steel doors can be employed for security.

While inside the office working environment where it is tough to oversee every single interaction in terms of hardware exchange, you can use visible deterrents such as Immobilize RFID tags to fend off low-level threats to theft.

For the more persistent thieves, you can combine visible deterrents with invisible tags to see that the thefts can be tracked down and brought to light! (Howell, 2016)

Software Security

The software that your company uses is the foundation on which your business runs and on which your customer data is stored. The company will need to look into this as the most important thing on your to-do list after Hardware Security.

a. Thou shalt not fail to Update and Upgrade! , finding and fixing bugs

This is the holiest of all Software Security Commandments! Since the software of an IT organization is the backbone of their electronic resources, the company will need to see to it that it is are on top of any updates or patches of the software tool that it is using, and will install it instantly. The company’s business depends on it. Not only do software upgrades increase the speed of your business, they see to it that any holes in software security aren’t exposed to interested parties, whoever they may be.

Large companies see to it that their IT admin teams take over this aspect of updating and upgrading all software’s even remotely related to the business. They work on the off-shift timings to install updates and clear system bugs and see to it that the core software’s run smoothly.

Smaller companies may not have the resources to hire large admin teams to see the regular updates are done on time. As an alternative, scanner software’s can be installed which check for updates and inform the employees so that they can install the software patches themselves.
(MacGraw, 2011)

b. Install paid Antivirus software’s

The other major way a company can ensure software security and prevent additional bugs in your program software’s is to install paid antivirus software to prevent internet security threats that eat into your processing power and corrupt system files. Free antivirus software just does not pack enough punch as much as the paid versions and even small businesses can afford the cost of such softwares. (MacGraw, 2011)

c. Add Company Specific Firewalls

No matter how small a company’s IT admin team is, it can always ask the team to develop and add custom firewalls (Software restrictions) to see that your core company software is being used the way it is supposed to. If this step is done right, it will prevent unauthorized logins, usage, and streamline the usage of software resources in your IT Company. For example, if someone is hogging internet bandwidth by using domestic applications while a critical business deliverable upload is going on, the IT admin can script specific application-specific firewall to see business data uploads are not hindered. (MacGraw, 2011)

Securing Sensitive Data

This is no easy task and it involves locking up all your crucial business data in layers of software security along with dedicated processing power to ensure continued protection.

a. Decide Which Data is Important

Encryption at this level is highly complicated and even expensive therefore the first thing you have to do is sort out the business data which is worthy of high-level encryption and data protection. This will leave you with more resources to offer better data protection (Data security handbook, 2008)

b. Manage Passwords and user account with different access control effectively

Passwords are the first line of defense against data theft. Generating and managing them can get cumbersome if they have to be changed regularly. A company can do these using services such as the Last Pass which help create and manage passwords for users. Use a paid version. (Data security handbook, 2008)

c. Train the Employees on Data Security

The best tool to avoid data theft is to prevent it, by training the workforce. Organize team meetings, webcasts or even email blasts, whatever works best for your organization's size and scale. But a company get across to its employees the best practices adopted by the company for data security have to be adhered to. Empower your employees, Cut the problem at the root! (Data security handbook, 2008)

d. Encryption

Encryption is the act of scrambling and coding data beyond its conventional use to make it meaningless to an outsider without the encryption passkeys. Services such as True Crypt help you encrypt an entire Hard Drive or even a USB drive to make sure a company uses only encrypted data which only it has access to.

SSL encryption or Socket Service Level Encryption for Webpages is a novel way of making sure your online content isn’t being hacked an external entity.

Before you start deciding on encryption first weigh the advantages and the cost side by side so that the organization doesn’t lose more than it gains, as a business. (Data security handbook, 2008)

e. Antivirus Software’s

These also play a huge role in keeping Trojan programs from the net and other viruses from hijacking or corrupting your data beyond recognition. Moderation is key here if this is done beyond a certain extent it may actually slow down your business processes. Hence always match your antivirus software with your organization's computing power to get the best fit and results. (Data security handbook, 2008)

f. Network traffic monitoring

When it comes to IP traffic monitoring it’s a must to implemented if the company dealing with sensitive data. Most popular free IP traffic monitor software is wire shark it’s built-in with kali Linux, which is the best operating system for vulnerability penetration test. (Data security handbook, 2008)

Conclusion

The guidelines specified here are hugely comprehensive and highly contingent upon the size and resources of the organization. Each method stated here has to be chosen after weighing the pros and cons according to the resources available in the organization against the Security need and the investment that can be made for the same. For example, if the organization in question is an MNC it can encrypt large amounts of data without thinking twice about implementation cost. In small organizations, data encryption and even and software upgrades have to thought upon, planned and executed based on the availability of funds.

But since this is a holistic guide to organizational security even slivers of the said guidelines can be taken out of selective context to design effective levels of security for the said organization in Hardware, Software, and Sensitive Data. And organizations irrespective of size and access to funds can refer to the said suggestions to optimize existing security infrastructure and reap a higher bottom line.


Bibliography

Data security handbook. (2008). Chicago, Ill.: ABA Section of Antitrust Law.

Howell, D. (2016). How to protect your business hardware. [online] Techradar. Available at: http://www.in.techradar.com/news/computing/How-to-protect-your-business-hardware/articleshow/44860287.cms [Accessed 6 Sep. 2016].

MacGraw, G. (2011). Software security. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Addison-Wesley.