Wednesday, 12 December 2012

How lessons from Skyfall can prevent businesses plunging into IT freefall

The new James Bond film Skyfall parachutes 007 into a chilling cyberspace of computer hacking and cyber terrorism in which malicious software – known as malware which infects and damages computers – is more dangerous than exploding pens.      
 
In true Bond style the battle of good versus evil submerges audiences into an explosion of special effects where fantasy villains such as Jaws, Blofeld and Oddjob are replaced by the hero’s more chilling nemesis Raoul Silva - a former agent turned vengeful computer hacker. 
 
As Gary Hibberd, director at The Agenci which specialises in information security and business continuity for small and medium sized enterprises, explains, Silva’s dastardly mission of cyber destruction mirrors the harsh reality of the off-screen bad guys who can eradicate micro business and corporations - leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.       
 
The real threat of cyber crime and the vulnerability of organisations is nowhere more apparent than when the youthful MI6 boffin Q tells Bond: “I can do more damage on my laptop in my pyjamas than you can do in a year in the field.” Such a warning reinforces the unprecedented importance of implementing robust security processes.
 
We only have to swap the cinema screen for the TV screen to see and hear big name brands reporting serious breaches of customer data. The repercussions can be catastrophic and include financial loss, incurring substantial fines for breaching legislation – and even irreparable damage to their reputation. 
 
In a more understated way than the flamboyant Bond, The Agenci helps companies to ‘beat the baddies’ and prevent information from falling into the wrong hands by supporting wide-ranging sectors to boost their processes and feel more secure when running their businesses. 
 
Gary Hibberd explains: “Irrespective of the size or sector in which your enterprise operates, it’s crucial to protect yourself against the bad guys. Time and again we find that companies leave themselves open for attack when a few simple steps could save much cost and heartache.” 
 
Here are five top tips to getting the fundamentals right:
 
1. Install Antivirus Software
 
The simplest forms of defence are surprisingly often overlooked. Antivirus stops people employing bad code on your computer and infecting it with a virus.  If you connect an unprotected computer to the internet it can be infected with a virus within 20 seconds!
 
Check your computer to ensure that you have software installed and ensure that it is kept up to date.
 
2. One User One I.D.
 
Ensuring that each employee has a unique user name and password can go a long way to protect your business assets. Following this process is helpful if you need to track an incident to find out who did what and when. 
 
3. Set up a Firewall
 
A little more technical but critical because it essentially operates like a locked front door and only allows those people to whom you want to give access to be able to get in. You wouldn’t leave your front door open to criminals – why would you leave your business open to computer hackers? 
 
4. Establish a Policy
 
Your employees can only be expected to follow the rules and guidelines if you have communicated to them exactly what they are. Compile a Computer Usage Policy which educates your employees and partners and spells out clearly what staff can and can’t do on a business computer.
 
5. Draw up Contracts
 
From customers to suppliers, it is essential that you have contracts setting out the provisions for the management and protection of company assets such as information, levels of controls, service levels expected - and a right to audit.
 
In the adage that prevention is better than cure, these simple steps will enable you to savour the Skyfall experience without worrying that fiction could turn into reality.
 The Agenci - A specialist in information security and business continuity.

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