Some of the most frequent questions we receive from clients, friends, and even strangers have to do with security. We've talked about this particular issue before, but today we wanted to share with you how businesses (small or large) can ensure that both company and client data is secure.
Two-step verification (or two-factor authentication) protects specific accounts by requiring users to provide an additional piece of information after entering your initial password. No longer is one simple password the way to protect your data. There are too many security breaches and too many people with bad intentions out there to trust in the password system of old. The most common form of two-step is when you enter your password, an online service will then send you a text message with a unique code that you'll then need to enter to get access to your account.
The idea behind this type of verification is that you're far more secure with this type of security because you need both passwords to be able to log in. In order to get passwords you have to have the physical phone in order to access your accounts. As long as your phone is protected by a passcode or fingerprint ID, you're safe from someone being able to bypass your two-step verification as well.
More and more services are moving to two-step (Google, Dropbox, Apple, etc) as an option for those logging in to their services. We encourage everyone that works at Foojee to enable two-step on every service they possibly can for work-related accounts and we recommend them to do the same for their personal accounts as well.
If your business doesn't have a firewall, you run the risk of unwanted visitors and harmful websites being allowed in your digital environment. A firewall's primary purpose is to filter traffic. Specifically, as packets pass through the firewall inspects each one and based on criteria defined by an administrator the packets are either allowed or denied. Firewalls will block everything that you haven't specifically allowed. You can 'whitelist' and 'blacklist' specific websites and help protect your employees. Also keep in mind that firewalls keep attackers out and they monitor for outgoing connections. Often certain types of malware will send out a signal once they take over a system, allowing the creator to take specific measures or potentially even control that system remotely. Being able to cut these threats off early will keep your employees and clients data safe and save you from having a real problem on your hands.
Most of us are pretty familiar with antivirus software. Most of us are also pretty familiar with the old rumor, "Macs don't get viruses." I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is that the rumor is actually a myth. Macs can and can get viruses. PCs, having been the more used machines in the past, were more often the target of viruses and malware. Hackers didn't put in as much effort with Macs because they were less prominent. With Macs gaining market share year after year, more and more hackers are turning their attention and efforts to breaking through Apple's machines. Macs do have some built in protection, but to truly protect yourself, it's smart to install an antivirus agent on your machines.
Antivirus software is just what it sounds like, they are developed to detect and remove computer viruses. These can come in the form of browser hijackers, browser helpers (which are a pain, but easy to remove), backdoors, trojan horses, adware, spyware and more. An antivirus software will help protect your from spam, scams, phishing attacks, online banking attacks, and even online identity attacks.
Monitoring software is not as important as the other items listed above, but it's just barely behind them on the priority list. When you install monitoring software on your machine, it isn't what you think. All of your activity and online data exchanges aren't being tracked and no one is trying to spy on you. Instead, what monitoring means in this sense is that a simple, small piece of software is installed on your Mac and when an issue is detected such as a failing hard drive, an automatic back up fails, or your battery starts to reach the end of its life an email is sent to whoever is set to monitor those devices. Essentially, monitoring software is an early warning sign that some sort of action may need to be taken on that specific machine. This has helped us save more clients' data than we can measure.
There are two scenarios. In one you don't have a monitoring software. You've had your Mac for 3-4 years and you'r working on a huge pitch for a client. Without warning one day, your machine shuts itself down and when you try to turn it back on you consistently get an error message. You reach out to us for help and we diagnose a hard drive failure and then have the excruciating job of telling you that all of your data is gone. Even worse, you didn't have a local or cloud-based backup so your work is gone forever. Sound like a nightmare? It is.
The other scenario is one where you've installed a monitoring software (like the one Foojee provides for clients). You're Mac is 3-4 years old and you're working on this huge pitch. Your monitoring software detects some recurring kernel panics and then we receive a Disk IO error. Bad news. Whoever is monitoring those alerts notices this and reaches out to let you know that it's time to back up your data immediately to either the cloud or a local storage unit. Two days later, your laptop fails and dies. But because you had that monitoring software installed, your data is saved and you don't lose all of that hard work you put into the pitch for your client. It's a no brainer.
None of these layers of security are forced on you. There are not requirements and no one is going to arrest you if you don't take these steps to protect yourself. But why wouldn't you? Security is one of the highest priorities for any business. Sure you can have unique passwords, but that's just not enough any more. Adding even one of the layers of protection mentioned above is a step in the right direction.
Imagine that your data is a castle. With each layer of protection you add (two-step verification, firewalls, antivirus, monitoring software, etc), you are creating another laying of defense and fortification. By moving to install all of these items in your environment you are ensuring the protection of those that matter most to your business.
If you have questions about any of the services above, want more clarification on why you might need them in your environment, or would just generally like some more assistance with this topic we are always happy to help. You can leave a comment below, tweet at us, or shoot us an email!