Secure office browsing to prevent data leakage
Data leakage is a common problem among today’s enterprises. With the rise of the Internet and mobile computing, combined with BYOD company policies, there are several different ways hackers can gain access to a company’s proprietary and confidential data.
If you’re using a company device, or a BYOD device which has access to core company databases and applications, you’ll want to take steps to protect the privacy of your organization and its customers. Secure browsing is a critical component of good security practices at the office.
Abide by company rules
Even if your company has a BYOD policy, it likely has a set of security standards
it expects employees to abide by to ensure proper security measures. Always follow any security policies and procedures set forth by your company – they’re designed specifically to prevent data leakage. Whether company-issued or not, your device can serve as a portal for hackers to access sensitive information. Browsing the web with caution will benefit you, just as much as it will your employer.
Update security settings and install browser updates
Your company may have provided you with access to its preferred security vendor. If so, be sure to install and utilize that program, as it likely contains specific filters and other precautions designed to meet
the security needs of your company and prevent data leakage.
Security software – -depending on whether your company utilizes a cloud-based or on-premise solution – may require periodic updates. If that’s the case, always install any security updates as they contain important protections against recently discovered threats.
If you’re browsing the web using an office PC, be sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of your preferred browser. Internet browsers issue periodic updates which are crucial for providing the best protection currently available.
Use distinct passwords for personal and work purposes
If you have access to a company application or database, you’ll want to use distinct passwords which differ significantly from those you use for personal reasons. That’s because a hacker who breaches your personal PC or device and knows your place of employment can seek to gain access to proprietary data for malicious purposes. If your passwords are duplicated, accessing this data will be an easier task.
In general, be smart when it comes to passwords. Don’t enable any automatic password memory (as convenient as it may be) and don’t use the same password to access multiple company accounts. Disabling cookies, which retain browsing history and other information, is also a good idea. You can configure your settings to disable cookies altogether or to automatically delete cookies either periodically or when you close your browser session.
Apply critical software updates
Any on-premise software solution your company utilizes will likely ask you to make an update from time to time. Restarting your system is a typical requirement to finalize these updates. It can be a pain – but it’s worth your time. It’s also a good idea to completely shut down any system you’re using at the office before you go home in the evening. An idle Internet connection can at times provide a vehicle for hackers to gain access to inadequately secured data. Take no chances.
Look to your IT department for help
If you’re working with a company which maintains its own IT professionals, look to them for help when in doubt. Those team members are on the clock working to protect both you and your company from hacks and other unfortunate security events. If you’re prompted to install software you didn’t initialize, seek their assistance. If you have trouble configuring software updates, ask for help.
It doesn’t have to be a major security risk to browse the web on the job. One simple breach can allow the leakage of essential data. Follow your company’s policies first, and utilize sound security practices to keep yourself – and your employer – as safe as possible.
Fergal Glynn is the Director of Product Marketing at Veracode security tools, an award-winning application security company specializing in cross site scripting solutions and other security breaches with effective risk assessment tools