Don’t let the old hardware blues undermine office security
used with permission from Tektonika (HP), by Karen Gilleland
Unlike fine wine, your cyber assets don’t get better with age. Any PC more than four years old is not only costly to keep, but it’s also hack-friendly tech that could pose serious office security risk. Old PCs lack the built-in security triggers needed to repel the thousands of malware threats discovered each hour. With new technology, you could avoid 70–80 percent of the top malware detected.
Down-level hardware could potentially jeopardize your business—and that risk carries a price tag far exceeding an investment in state-of-the-art technology. As Two River Community Bank put it, “The risk just isn’t worth it.” There’s no reason to stick with outdated hardware, especially when computing power is growing exponentially and faster than ever. Older hardware may be costing you precious time, and the longer you delay updating old equipment, the further behind you’ll fall in the skills, knowledge, and technology needed to compete with companies on top of the curve.
Leverage the benefits of more secure hardware
With cybercrime raging over the internet, security best practices demand powerful, security-hardened computers providing:
- Hardware-enforced, self-healing protection that keeps critical applications and processes running even if malware tries to shut them down
- Strong identification protocols, including biometrics
- Privacy screens shielding sensitive information from coffee-shop snoops
- Advanced features that protect firmware; auto-recover the BIOS from malware, rootkits, and corruption; guard critical OS processes, and keep web-based attacks locked inside an isolated browser tab
Establish floor-to-ceiling security
Cybercrime aside, businesses face many other dangers. A comprehensive office security plan must account for everything from computer theft and bad wiring to earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Physical theft can strike companies of all sizes. You can minimize the likelihood of disappearing assets with low-tech solutions, such as guards, key locks, and invisible tagging to track and retrieve items. Larger-scale operations may require elaborate alarm systems, cameras, or motion sensors. In the event your tech does get stolen, you should employ encryption and remote-wiping capabilities on all your hardware, though many newer devices come with these features built in.
While you can work to stop hackers and theft, there isn’t too much you can do against mother nature. Floods, fires, and other disasters may not be common, but when they happen, they can easily cripple businesses. The same is true for hardware failure, which is a higher risk when you’re using old hardware (see a trend?). That’s why disaster recovery and remote backups are a must for office security that covers all your bases.
Whatever safeguards you choose, the most crucial piece of on-site security is staff awareness and buy-in. Launch a security campaign that includes tips, posters, meetings, and contests. The more you promote physical security best practices, the better the chances your users will take care of their equipment.
Turn to the digital fittest to survive
All aspects of the IT culture—hardware, software, browsers, physical space, etc.—sit in the eye of a hurricane, with changes swirling about furiously fueled by faster, more powerful technology. The exponential rate of change and innovation will have a profound impact on every business operation, and office security will be a huge component of “survival-of-the-digital-fittest” culture.
To keep pace, make sure you try your best to understand megatrends that may affect your business, adopt breakthrough technologies early, and set an aggressive schedule for replacing your IT assets with more secure hardware to meet the needs of all your stakeholders.