Protecting your tech during the holidays

Anthony Caruana
16 December, 2014
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Physical-security-cameras-macworld-australiaYour business relies on technology. Whether it’s for the accounts program, point of sale system or just email and scheduling, losing your computer or a server can spell big trouble for your business.

Over the summer, some risks increase. For example, if your office or store is unattended for a couple of weeks, thieves can get in, take what’s valuable and escape without you being aware for days or even weeks.

While you’re holidaying, your tablet, laptop or smartphone are at risk of being stolen from a car, dropped at the beach or forgotten on a plane.

You need to take deliberate steps to mitigate the risk of these happening and of reducing the impact in case they do happen.

Securely lock things up

This seems obvious but we’re amazed when we walk into some offices after a Christmas break to find external hard drives, laptops and other tech that can hold sensitive company information just lying on desks in the open.

Many thefts are opportunistic. Someone enters a premises and grabs the first things they can see that are of value.

If you have lockable cupboards and drawers – use them.

Backup all critical systems

This ought to be a year-round imperative but it’s especially important at times when your systems are at greatest risk.

We’re big fans of the 3-2-1-0 backup system. Three copies of your data on at least two different media with at least one offsite copy and no errors. We’ve covered backup systems recently here.

If you don’t have a robust backup system that you’ve tested in place, now is the time to get it right.

Make sure security updates are done

Holidays are a great time for hackers and thieves to remotely access systems and wreak havoc. They have unfettered access to systems without any pesky users getting in the way or detecting their moves.

The vast majority of security exploits are perpetrated by hackers using previously known, but unpatched, vulnerabilities.

On the day before you close down for holidays, update any systems that need to stay up and running. Any systems that aren’t needed while you’re out of the office should be shut down – you can’t hack a system that is switched off.

Have someone regularly visit the office or store

Give a spare set of keys and the alarm codes to a trusted friend and get them to check into the office regularly. As well as being able to report on anything untoward, having someone actually on-site is a great deterrent to thieves.

Invest in security cameras

Office security cameras have come a long way in recent years. Like consumer and professional cameras, security cameras now have excellent resolution and sensitive sensors that can shoot clear images in almost any lighting conditions.

Most of the network equipment makers, like DLink, Netcomm, Linksys and Belkin, sell cameras that can connect to your wireless network – they will need a power supply.

These cameras, that start at under $100, include motion sensitivity so they’ll only record when there’s movement. If something changes in the camera’s field of vision, the images can be sent to you by email and you can remotely log-in using a smartphone or tablet app to check on what’s going on before calling the authorities.

It’s inexpensive peace of mind.

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