Bad news – the zombie apocalypse is already upon us. The rise of technology created a new strain of crime, new threats to businesses of all sizes. There’s no cure, we can’t turn back – we can only do our best to survive in this strange new world.
Many small businesses are sitting ducks. They don’t know the extent of the danger to themselves, their clients, and their livelihoods. So what can businesses do to shore up their network security?
Here are 11 security must-haves for any business looking to survive – and even succeed – in this fantastic and frightening frontier.
11 Business Network Security Must-Haves (Zombie Apocalypse Edition)
1. Employee Education
There’s a big gaping hole in your network security fence: tech-challenged employees. Business network security starts with the people who use the network.
All other things equal, hackers and malware don’t just enter your system all willy-nilly. They need someone to grant them access (usually unwittingly). They need someone to:
Turn off their firewall to access a program or website
Visit an unsecure website
Download an infected program or file
Open an infected attachment in an email
Provide their login or personal information online or over the phone
Doing any one of these things can open the floodgates. It’s the equivalent of putting up a fence to protect your property from zombies, but Roger decides one of the zombies looks friendly and opens the gate. Now everyone’s dead. Thanks, Roger.
To prevent this, everyone needs to be on the same page regarding online behavior – don’t turn off the firewall, don’t open suspicious emails, NEVER give a stranger your login or personal information. The zombies aren’t friendly, Roger. Don’t open the gate.
2. IT Disaster Response Plan
If the zombies DO get into your fort, what do you do? If you have no disaster response plan, good luck salvaging anything.
There are five steps to a proper disaster response plan:
Identify signs and signals that the plan needs to be activated.
Lay out steps for proper response to & communication of the issue.
Document it IN WRITING and make sure all employees have a copy.
Practice, practice, practice your disaster recovery plan.
To mitigate risks, back up your data DAILY. If it’s important, do it even more frequently. The best way to protect your files is to have multiple copies in multiple places (both online and offline).
3. Multi-Factor Authentication
Even if Roger opens the gate, the zombies can’t get in right away if there’s also a moat they need to cross.
One password is good. Two passwords is better. Multi-factor authentication provides multiple layers of protection, and should be implemented where possible.
4. Follow Password Best Practices
Speaking of passwords, there are 4 rules for proper password security:
A mixture of ALL: lowercase, capitals, numbers, symbols
More than 10 characters
Different passwords for every program, website, and account
Change all passwords once a month
This is like putting crocodiles, landmines, bear traps, and pitfalls between you and the zombies.
Your firewall will automatically filter out potential threats. It’s like having a secret passage from your fort so you people can go in and out without letting the zombies in.
Most people think firewalls are software-only, but for an added layer of protection, you can also set up a hardware-based firewall. While software firewalls must be configured on every computer, hardware firewalls protect all computers on the network.
Just in case the zombies get in, you should keep stashes of food and other necessities on the outside.
Backing up your data daily lessens the impact of security breaches. In the worst cases of malware infection or hacking, you’ll be able to restore your data while minimizing downtime (and avoiding paying ransom to a hacker).
This is why we call them “Trojan” viruses.
7. Approved Software ONLY
Sometimes, zombies look very much like regular humans, and regular humans can also carry infection. This is why you need to be strict about who enters your property.
Do not download or install software that hasn’t been approved by your IT agency. A common hacking tactic is to disguise malware as a safe, familiar program. Roger thinks it’s safe, and suddenly everyone is getting eaten.
8. Keep Tech Updated
Zombies look dumb, but they’ll eventually figure out how to dig a hole under your fence. Maybe there’s a mutation in the zombie virus, and now they’re smart enough to unlatch your gate.
You need to evolve with the threats. New technology brings new opportunities for hackers and malware – and security for new technology is usually reactive to breaches, not proactive. Keep all of your tech updated, and you’ll at least be safe from known threats.
9. Mobile Security
Most of your crew in the zombie apocalypse probably have pets. As we all know, pets can carry harmful diseases and pests, and are more likely to do dumb stuff.
Most of your employees have smartphones that are highly susceptible to cybercrime. Smartphones are still playing catch-up with tech security, and they’re not immune to malware as many people think. Make sure you have security plans specifically for mobile devices – they must be secured, quarantined, or left behind.
10. Physical Security
Fences and moats don’t do much good if you built them around an open field. You should probably have some kind of shelter – tents are fine short-term, but a fortress would be ideal.
Don’t leave your servers, hard drives, and other hardware laying around the office. Ideally, they’ll be safeguarded in a server room or in a locked office. They should at the very least be put in a closet so Roger can’t spill coffee all over your livelihood.
11. Only Necessary Permissions
If Roger can’t open the gate in the first place, he won’t be able to let the zombies in.
Only tech-savvy higher ups should be able to access network security settings, download or install new programs, or have unrestricted Internet access.
Is there any 100% guaranteed business network security solution?
The zombie apocalypse has already begun. As soon as hackers figured out how to wreak havoc over the Internet, we lost hope for any truly safe spaces.
Business network security requires constant vigilance. It requires multiple safeguards with active management to respond to any possible threats.
However, it IS possible to sleep peacefully without worrying over the future of your business. Follow all of these steps (and more if necessary) and you’ll be able to face potential breaches calmly, with the knowledge that one breach won’t ruin your business.
For an additional layer of protection, hire experienced zombie hunters to keep your perimeters clean. A professional IT support team can assist with all of the above, and keep a watchful eye out even while you sleep.