The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Secure business communications have become more important now that organizations are mostly operating amidst distance. They were left with no choice but to count on the power of technology. Email remains to be one of the most preferred ways to communicate but poses much risk when it comes to security given that it’s a common target for hackers to this day. While there are other applications available, it would be the challenge of the organization to choose the best option and make them work efficiently.
Today, it is essential for businesses to incorporate data security in communication tools to avoid information breaches. It wouldn’t be easy to streamline communication channels as there would be several challenges along the way. Therefore, it would be best for your communications team and the IT departments to work hand in hand to address potential communication issues while keeping cybercriminals at bay. As the importance of communication in business cannot be overstated, let’s get right into some strategies on how to keep it secure.
Set clear policies. To mostly rely on technology for business communications require ample preparation as well as measures to encourage your employees to be accountable for their engagements as well. This would be possible if you’ve set comprehensive policies backed by research on the best practices of organizations ideally operating in the same industry as you. These policies can include password guidelines, access to software, and even adding professional email signatures which could have a disclaimer on how the recipient can only make use of the email content among many others.
Aside from relevant research, your cybersecurity team should also conduct risk assessments to come up with governing policies on the content to be used or received, who can access it, and the tasks of the monitoring group should there be any violations. Some of the topics that policies should encapsulate are authentication, authorization, security risk management, and access control.
Evaluate current communication channels. Looking at what you already got will help you determine what can be improved and what should be retained. Check the communication platforms that your team has been using to see the functionalities of each one and determine what else is needed. For instance, chat applications like Slack support document sharing—you need to assess whether it would be best to solely use it or incorporate other workspaces like Google which offers easy access to its online storage. Once you’ve identified the channels necessary for your team, you can then focus on amplifying their security measures.
It is also good practice to inspect your IT security infrastructure regularly and modify accordingly should your IT team see the need for updating of the anti-virus software, firewalls, content management application, etc. Moreover, it wouldn’t hurt to consult with security experts who can adequately design or reconstruct your existing security infrastructures.
Encrypt your data. If you want to ensure that the message is only received by the intended receiver, you must always use encryption for all communications as you would never know if a hacker is already working on intercepting the message while it’s being transmitted. By using end-to-end encryption, you will be able to relay your messages with a digital lock through incorporating applications that support this mechanism in your overall business communications.
Train your staff. You cannot maximize and enjoy the benefits of your security tools if your employees don’t know how to use them. Therefore, you must support them through regular cybersecurity training on how to exercise best practices and easily recognize malicious situations such as email phishing. The IT department can lead these training seminars to further their awareness of potential threats to your company’s communication channels. Don’t forget to stress the importance of such initiative and what they’re about to regularly practice by explaining to them the strategy and the rationale of it all.
A couple of best practices that the said training could reiterate are the usage of a two-factor authentication process to access data, not forwarding sensitive information via email, regular changing of passwords, separating business and personal communication means, and many more. It would also help if your iT department would establish a solid monitoring and enforcement system. They can dedicate a team to ensure that the communication policies are understood and properly adhered to by the employees.
By having a control point where all information and traffic are monitored, you can verify the effectiveness of your policies as you would see how your employees are being able to comply. Also, you can check if there has been an attempt for unauthorized app usage, password hacking, and the like.
Securing business communication takes a lot of work but this would be worth it as it is a preventive measure from possible hacking scenarios and other related challenges. Start talking to your IT team now and gauge where would be the best place to start after checking where your security infrastructure stands at present.