IT security has fast become an imperative for many businesses, something that isn’t altogether surprising given the number of data breaches and cyberattacks in recent years.
In fact, according to research from the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2014 was US$3.8 million. This represents a significant 23 per cent increase from 2013.
Understanding how these breaches occur is important. After all, it’s rare that a malicious cybercriminal will hack into your company network and access the information secured on your devices. Instead, they’ll likely steal a laptop from the bag of an unsuspecting employee or send them an email with a link to a malicious website.
If you’re concerned about a breach impacting your business, then action is going to be important. So how can you effectively secure the laptops your employees use every day?
1) Biometric security
Fingerprint scanners have seemingly grown in popularity thanks to their inclusion on many new smartphones, but the trend actually started on laptops.
These scanners essentially go above and beyond passwords by requiring a fingerprint to unlock the laptop. Such a technology means it’s significantly more difficult to gain access to a business laptop if someone stumbles across it.
Of course, a strong password should also always be in place.
2) Remote tracking and wiping
So what happens if a laptop is ever stolen? For most businesses, this signals the end of the device and the need to start figuring out what data may have been stolen. However, there’s a security solution that can prove especially useful.
Firstly, there’s remote tracking. This helps you identify whether or not the device was actually stolen. A laptop could, after all, have simply been misplaced. Remote tracking solutions are often capable of showing where the device was when it last connected to a network.
Then, if the device really has been stolen or there’s no hope of retrieving it, remote wiping allows you to clear the hard drive remotely to ensure sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
3) BitLocker Drive Encryption
On certain versions of Windows (Vista, 7, 8 and 10), Microsoft included a security technology known as BitLocker. It’s designed to provide improved security for computers by encrypting data stored in the operating system volume.
Here’s how it works: A microchip embedded in the computer – known as a Trusted Platform Module(TPM) – stores the encryption keys required to access the computer. Whenever the computer is turned on, the TPM checks to see whether the computer has been tampered with. Once checks have been carried out, the TPM releases the keys required to decrypt the information.
If the computer is ever stolen, someone can’t simply unplug the hard drive and use it in another computer.
Further security can be added by requiring users to plug in a USB flash drive with another encryption key to unlock the computer.
Security a key issue
Another study from the Ponemon Institute, in partnership with Dell, found that business travellers in the US lose over 12,000 laptops every week. What’s more, only 33 per cent of these devices are ever reclaimed.
The time it takes to secure your company laptops is never going to be time wasted. These devices often contain reams of sensitive information, all of which is accessible to an attacker if the device is stolen without proper security systems in place.