There are more than 31 million small businesses currently operating in the United States. These provide valuable products and services to their customers and employment to millions of people across America.
Unfortunately, a huge number of small businesses are unprepared for a cyberattack that could cause serious damage. In fact, 56% of these businesses think that they could handle a cyber-attack without it damaging their business.
This is far from the truth. A cyber attack could cost your business thousands of dollars, damage your reputation, and lose you your loyal customer base. So how can you make sure that your business is secure against this kind of attack? An IT system audit checklist template is exactly what you need! Read on to find out everything you need to include on your checklist to keep your IT services as secure as possible.
1. Check Your Antivirus Software
When it comes to your IT security, antivirus software is essential. This alerts you to threats to your system so that you can minimize the damage that they cause. However, it is very important to update your antivirus software as regularly as possible. This ensures that it’ll keep up-to-date on the latest security threats and how to recognize them.
2. Configure Your Firewall
Your firewall is your first line of defense for cyber security. It reduces the amount of traffic coming through your system and blocks threats. However, this also means that some traffic will automatically be blocked from your system. You can configure your firewall protocols in order to keep your business’s system running as you need it to.
3. Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
Keeping your software updated is also key to security management. Over time, hackers become familiar with software and this helps them to find weaknesses in it. They can then exploit these to carry out a cyber attack.
Updating your software doesn’t just give you access to the latest gadgets it has to offer. Software updates also remove the weaknesses that hackers may have identified in old versions of it, so your work will be much more secure.
4. Encrypt Your Drives
If you are storing sensitive data on your business’s hardware then you should always encrypt your drives. This essentially means that you make them unreadable to people who don’t have access to your encryption software.
As a result, hackers who access your IT data might be able to steal data but they won’t be able to read, use, or sell it on. If someone steals a piece of hardware they also won’t be able to read the data stored on it. A lot of businesses also use encrypted messenger services, such as WeChat, Viber, Telegram, and IMO. These provide ‘end-to-end’ encryption. So only the people sending and receiving the messages can read them from their logged-in devices.
5. Train Your Employees
Having security protocols in place to protect your IT system is all well and good. However, your employees need to know how to use these and this requires security training. In fact, a huge number of data breaches are caused by personal errors within a company. Training your staff will minimize the risk of this happening. You should provide training on:
- The importance of IT security
- How to update your software and applications
- Creating passwords that will keep cyber attackers out
- What your staff should do if they are worried about a security breach
You should make sure that all of your staff training is up-to-date so schedule this regularly. If you run into a security issue or have to update your protocols, make sure you give staff training on the changes that you’ve made. This ensures that they can use them properly to keep your business safe.
6. Back-Up Your Data
When people think about data security, they often focus on external threats and how to keep these at bay. This is important but you also need to recognize that a loss of data could come from an internal mistake.
If you have a power outage or someone accidentally deletes a file then you could lose valuable data forever. This is why backing up your system is crucial. You should set your system to automatically back up on a regular basis. These backups should be stored on a different server and “gapped” to prevent hackers from encrypting or stealing them.
7. Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
As we’ve already mentioned, a lot of businesses believe that they are immune to cyber threats but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, last year more than 155 million data exposure breaches took place in America.
Having great security measures in place can help protect your system from the damage caused by these kinds of attacks. However, it is also vital to have a recovery plan in place in case they do occur. This will minimize the amount of damage they cause and will help you get your business safely back online as soon as possible.
Your IT disaster recovery plan should contain:
- Recovery time objects (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs)
- An inventory of your software and hardware
- Lists of personnel, their roles, and the access that they have to your system
- Protocol for identifying data that has been compromised
- Methods for identifying and eliminating the cybersecurity threat
- Clear communication strategies for telling your employees and customers about the breach
Hopefully, you will never have to use your disaster recovery plan. However, having one in place will help you get your IT system back on its feet as quickly as possible if you do experience a security breach.
Start Using Your IT System Audit Checklist Today
As you can see, when it comes to keeping your business secure, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your IT system. Keep this IT system audit checklist in mind and you can’t go wrong. Need help securing your IT system against cyber threats? Then get in touch with a member of our team today — we’re happy to help!