Companies urged to take computer security seriously

Leaders at mid-level industrial firms are being urged to take measures to protect their computer and website security against unauthorized intrusions, even though many do not consider their company's data to be at risk. A recent survey by the consulting, tax and assurance firm McGladrey found that 68 percent of the 1,067 business executives surveyed believe that their computer security is safe.

"Two-thirds of them said it was at little or no risk," Karen Kurek, McGladrey industrial products service leader, said in an interview with IDG Media. "I think in general, in this sector, a lot of people don't understand the potential exposure that they have."

The survey found that executives at larger companies are much more aware of the potential for breaches, with 44 percent saying that they were concerned about data security. Among smaller firms, 32 percent of executives expressed concerns about computer security. Kurek said that one reason for the lack of awareness of data security threats is the widespread belief among manufacturers that they do not have data that thieves would want. They overlook the fact that their companies maintain personnel records and information about intellectual property and patents, among other records.

Recommendations for Better Security
Businesses can make their data more secure by developing a simple security plan and sticking to it, Brainloop CEO Bernhard Wöbker wrote for the Boston Globe.

Wöbker emphasized the need to educate employees regarding potential risks to data security, such as malware, and the need to put security guidelines in place that do not hinder or prevent workers from doing their jobs. Employees at many levels handle sensitive information and should be aware of whether the documents or communications they create are sensitive. Data that they think is or might be sensitive should be protected. Using secure technology and integrated software also can help keep data safe by limiting how much time is spent switching programs to make sure that a document won't be compromised. Companies also should concentrate on restricting as much sensitive data as possible to the office infrastructure and away from personal computers and mobile devices.

"With professionals increasingly utilizing their own mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, in a professional setting, it is more important than ever that sensitive information is protected regardless of the device used to access or share it," Wöbker wrote.

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