IT security myths

Headless worms. Shadow IT. Hackers. It’s a scary world out there: how are you going to protect yourself, your IT department and your company from these threats and others?

In order to keep your IT department safe, you need to prioritize these threats and address the most pressing ones first. However, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about IT security and how you should be tackling it—and if you fall victim to this, you may end up wasting time and money fighting problems that aren’t real (and ignoring those that are). Here are a few myths about IT security, as well some true things you should be stressing about:

Myth 1: Cybersecurity is an unpredictable, entirely new challenge.

While ghostware may be a new threat, cybersecurity (and IT security in general) didn’t just spring up overnight. Instead, we can look to history to help us solve IT issues. In fact, cybersecurity has been an issue for over 100 years, ever since magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne hacked a Marconi system to send insulting messages during a public demonstration of the technology.

While you may not be able to find turnkey solutions to today’s problems within the history of computer security hacking, by knowing where we’ve been, you do get a better sense of what trends hackers have traditionally followed. This gives you the best chance to anticipate and defend your company against the problems of the future.

Myth 2: The problem is solely about technology.

Sure, technology can be glitchy and hackable, but it’s not the only thing responsible for security threats. Don’t discount the potential for human error as a security threat. The tech support joke of PEBCAK (the cause of a computer error is that the “problem exists between the chair and keyboard”) may be a little harsh, but it’s true: people make mistakes, and those mistakes can make you vulnerable to attack.

Because of this, it’s essential to educate employees on how to safely operate and navigate technology. Whether it’s by providing guidelines on how to make a secure password, how to encrypt data before uploading it to the cloud or how to detect a phishing scam, equipping your employees with the tools they need to stay safe is crucial.

Myth 3: Security breaches mainly come from outside hackers with genius skills.

There are definitely Internet bad guys out there, and you should be worried about them. But remember myth 2? What you should really worry about is your employees and clients making it easy for these people to access your data by inadvertently opening the door to them. Unfortunately, nearly 75 percent of security breaches are unintentional “inside jobs” that happen when employees make bad choices.

So what should you be worrying about? It’s pretty simple: making your IT processes strong, simple and easy to follow, arming employees with the information they need to keep their devices safe and staying up-to-date with IT trends. When you do continually, proactively educate and engage your company around IT security, you’ll have a great defense when some Internet baddie does try and hack the system.

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Photo credit: TedxAmsterdam via Flickr Creative Commons

CIOs IT Strategy