Network compliance has many benefits for small to medium businesses. Companies processing credit card information may need to maintain PCI Compliance, while healthcare professionals may need to maintain HIPAA Compliance. Businesses recognize the need to secure and protect applications and their data including: customer records, employee privacy data, competitive information and trade secrets.
Depending on your industry regulations there may be strict requirements and steep fines for noncompliance. The risk of cyber attacks also increases the need to maintain a compliant network. Here are some basic tips for keeping your network in compliance.
Network Monitoring for Network Compliance
Performing a periodic network scan can identify any unauthorized computers and/or mobile devices on your network. If your network is not secure, an unauthorized user may be connected through a wireless access or even physically, without your knowledge. In some cases this may be for malicious purposes. At a minimum, an unauthorized computer or mobile device may introduce viruses or malware to your network.
Maintaining Operating System (O/S) Security Patches
It is important to ensure that your O/S security patches are consistently applied. Also, security patches for office productivity tools should also be kept up to date to minimize exposure on your network. Don’t leave it to employees to accept patches. Make sure you have a system in place to ensure all O/S patches are properly applied. If you centrally manage these O/S patches, you can also save on network bandwidth, so all your employees don’t have to download these patches when available.
Keep Anti Virus and Anti Malware Definitions up To Date
It is equally important to keep your Anti Virus and Anti Malware definitions up to date to ensure your network in compliance. One infected, machines behind your firewall can potentially bring down your entire network. Make sure you protect your mobile devices as well. These smart phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices are also targets of viruses and malicious software. Your network is as secure as the weakest link.
In addition to preventing attacks to minimize your exposure, you should also backup your data so you can rapidly recover in the event of an attack. Based on your industry requirements, there will be more rigorous requirements on how to protect your data. If you have concerns about whether you are achieving network compliance, contact your IT services organization and inquire about a network health check.
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Cloud Computing adoption is on the rise for businesses looking to reduce capital expenditure and avoid software licensing. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Annual Trends in Cloud Computing Survey forty two percent of respondents turned to the cloud to modernize legacy IT. Forty two percent of those Business Owners and IT Executives cited Cloud Computing as simply a better option and fifty percent surveyed were moving to the cloud to cut costs.
Many companies have turned to Cloud Computing without even knowing it. Through rogue IT (end user adoption without IT assistance) employees may be using cloud backup technologies for file sharing, mobile applications that connect to the cloud and other productivity tools. Here are some ways your company can make a strategic investment in Cloud Computing to extend the life of your existing IT Infrastructure.
Cloud Computing for Desktop as a Service
Some companies have older desktop, laptop and servers that are not able to run the latest version of office productivity applications or other desktop software. Because these systems may not have fast enough processors, inadequate memory or are lacking in an updated operating system O/S, some companies had adopted hosted or cloud versions of these productivity applications to gain access to the latest applications without having to upgrade their computers.
Cloud Computing for Hosted Email
Hosted email services are another way for you to gain access to the latest version of popular products like Microsoft Exchange without having to upgrade servers and pay up front license fees. By migrating to a cloud based version, you can have access to the latest updates for a monthly subscription fee.
Cloud Computing for Customer Relationship Management
Salesforce Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management solutions are one of the more popular technologies available as a Cloud Service. Many companies have home grown or custom solutions that are expensive to maintain or may not be compatible with the latest server operating systems. To avoid an expensive upgrade consider a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to provide your enterprise class functionality, at an affordable price.
When considering migrating critical applications and their data to the cloud, consult your IT Service Team to ensure you have the proper network bandwidth and infrastructure, security provisions, project management and training to get the most productivity from your new cloud computing applications.