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If Sony Can’t Prevent a Determined Hacker – Then How Can my Business?

December 29 2014

 

It has recently been announced that Sony Pictures Entertainment has been the victim of yet another cyber security breach and it could very well be one of the worst yet. As well as defacing Sony websites, leaking films and disclosing the pre-bonus salaries of Sony executives, the hackers also stole and sabotaged company data.

It is believed that the cyber criminals gained access to many of Sony’s key documents and Excel files, which had not been password protected and stole information such as the addresses and social security numbers of Sony employees and Hollywood actors.

Over the last few weeks the security breach has caused many embarrassing situations for the company. Some of the documents that were stolen have been published on the internet and reveal some of Sony’s top employees criticising high profile Hollywood actors like Angelina Jolie. It’s thought that this scandal could seriously harm the company’s reputation and begs the question, will the likes of Jolie and other Hollywood actors return to work with Sony in the future.

As well as a likely backlash from some of the movie stars affected by the breach, Sony also has to face financial and business threats. The leaked information, which includes social security numbers and addresses of employees and actors, could very well lead to lawsuits under California’s strict laws on data protection.

Unfortunately this is not the first time Sony has had a run in with the law. Back in April 2011 the company received a fine from British regulators for failing to protect its users from having their personal data stolen and leaked online.

 

Other recent IT security breaches

Sony isn’t the only company that has experienced a major security breach this year. Back in October, JP Morgan Chase & Co. (one of the leading global financial services firms and largest banking institutions in the US) announced it had faced a security breach that had compromised the personal information of around seventy six million households.

Other companies that have faced huge security breaches in the last few years include Twitter, Ebay and even Dominos Pizza. Over the summer, Apple was also at the centre of a security scandal when a number of Hollywood celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, had photos stolen from their iCloud accounts. However, it is thought that the hacker was targeting celebrities’ personal accounts rather than the Apple platform.

 

Is there any hope for smaller businesses?

With news of all these high profile companies having their IT systems hacked it’s understandable that many small businesses are worrying they’ll be next. Many companies fear that if a huge corporation like Sony can’t fight off hackers, then they won’t stand a chance. But it’s important to consider that there were clearly flaws in Sony’s IT security system for this to happen and it obviously didn’t help that many employees were not taking the necessary precautions, such as failing to password protect their documents.

If small and medium sized businesses invest in the right security solutions, work with an experienced IT company and ensure their employees are educated on the importance of IT security, they stand a better chance of keeping hackers out of their systems for good.

 

Security solutions

In order to secure your business network and prevent hackers from being able to infiltrate it, you need to make use of IT security software. This includes (but is not limited to) patch management software, anti-virus scanners, monitoring tools and network auditing applications.

 

Patch management

Many companies fail to update their software and applications on a regular basis, which can cause major security issues. If you are using software that is out of date, you will be more likely to get hacked than if you were to update it to the newer version. This is why we highly recommend using patch management software like GFI LanGuard or Cloud Patch Management. These two pieces of software scan for the availability of new patches then install them and test your system on your behalf to eliminate vulnerabilities.

 

Web filtering

No matter how big or small your company is or how much you trust your employees, you should also be making use of web filtering tools. These are designed to prevent users from accessing websites that could cause malware infections. Although there are many different web filtering tools out there, we highly recommend GFI WebMonitor or Cloud Web Protection.

 

24/7 monitoring

Monitoring your IT systems using Whatsup Gold monitoring tools and GFI monitoring tools will allow you to evaluate its performance. Using these tools you will also be able to identify any small issues and get them fixed before they become big problems that could expose your IT system to security threats.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of these IT security solutions, please get in touch with us here at Grant McGregor.

 

Educating employees

Believe it or not, educating your employees on IT security can go a long way in helping you to fight off cyber-attacks. We recommend running training sessions and creating an IT security policy so employees know how to use your IT systems safely in the workplace. Educating your employees on how to create strong passwords, when to change them and why they shouldn’t access your system using personal devices, will help you to create a securer environment.

We are more than happy to help you with this, so feel free to get in touch for more information.

 

On-going process

Securing your IT systems and protecting your data is critical to the success of your business but unfortunately it’s not a one off job. You can’t just install any old IT security software and hope for the best.

In order to keep your systems safe, you will need to constantly update your security measures and ensure your employees are following your security procedures. These days, hackers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to target business networks, so you need to do everything you can to make sure you remain one step ahead of them.

Securing your IT system is an on-going process and whilst it can be hard work, it will be worth your investments of both time and money.

 

How Grant McGregor can help…

If you are concerned about the safety of your business network or are interested in finding out more about the security solutions detailed in this article, feel free to get in touch with the Grant McGregor team. We are highly experienced in providing IT support and IT consultation services and are here to help you create a safer and more secure IT environment for your business.

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