Tips In Honor of National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month and this year it is being co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross. Personally I don’t like these special “months” that various industries make up. However, especially in light of the destruction in New Orleans I’ll take part and offer Symantec’s Top 10 Recommended Security Practices.
1. Install antivirus software on all desktops, laptops and servers to prevent virus infection.
2. Use a firewall on all desktops, laptops and servers to block intruders.
3. Keep current with operating system and security software updates to ensure you have the latest protection.
4. Create strong passwords with at least eight characters combining alphanumeric and special characters. Change passwords every 45-60 days. (Editor’s note – For network access and other secure areas of your company this applies. However, you don’t want to have 80 passwords being changed every 45 days in 30 different applications. You’ll go insane. One option is to use some form of biometrics like a finger print reader)
5. Open e-mail responsibly. Never open attachments from unknown senders. DO NOT respond to spam.
6. Enable security settings on your Web browser and DO NOT enable file sharing.
7. Back up important data regularly and store extra copies offsite.
8. Secure all remote computers with antivirus and personal firewall software. Evaluate the benefits of a virtual private network (VPN) that provides a private ¬?tunnel¬? to your business.
9. Secure wireless connections with a virtual private network (VPN) and install firewalls.
10. Follow routine physical security precautions by using a screen-locking feature to locking down laptops with a cable.
Advanced Checklist. In addition to the basic recommendations:
11. Security Management: Centralize security management to assess overall vulnerability, carefully manage patches and updates, conduct ¬?penetration test¬?
12. Advanced security + contingency plan in place¬π
13. Implement a security policy that defines what is to be secured, how, and by whom.
14. Redundant server: A second server, which backs up the data on the first server. If there is a malfunction or security breach with the first server, the second contains the same critical company data
15. Work with an outside partner to identify advanced security breaches, needs and to develop customized solutions.