A Guide To Cybersecurity For Architecture Firms
No matter how secure you may be right now, you could always be doing more. To strengthen your architecture firm’s cybersecurity, review the best practices in this guide, or reach out to initial.IT for expert assistance.
Technology is an integral part of your architecture firm’s operations, as are IT services. Unfortunately, for as many benefits as new technology offers, there’s a catch: the more digitized your organization becomes, the bigger a target it is for cybercriminals.
Firms like yours need to realize that everyone is at risk for cyber-attacks, especially those that adopt technology without strategizing cybersecurity. Without the right tools and technology to prevent hackers from stealing your information, your business is left prone to a major data breach.
initial.IT has extensive experience working with firms like yours. Our team is available to help you assess, improve and manage cybersecurity — get in touch with us to learn more.
Are You Sure Your Firm Is Secure?
Cybersecurity can be a complicated and scary subject that’s often ignored because of those same reasons. Most firm owners can not confidently claim that their firm is secure.
Some of the questions you should be asking yourself include:
- Are my computers, servers, laptops and mobile devices secure?
- Is my network equipment secure? (Including Firewall, ISP modem, switches, and WiFi Access Points)
- Do I have appropriate Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware software installed on your systems?
- Are my desktops and servers maintained with regular patches and updates?
- Are my firm’s passwords strong enough to prevent cybercriminals from figuring them out?
- Are my cloud-based assets secure?
- Are my employees informed about Security Threats and how to protect your clients’ data?
5 Best Practices To Improve Your Firm’s Cybersecurity
Implement A Firewall
Your firewall is your first line of defense for keeping your information safe.
A firewall is a particular type of solution that maintains the security of your network. It blocks unauthorized users from gaining access to your data. Firewalls are deployed via hardware, software, or a combination of the two.
A firewall inspects and filters incoming and outgoing data in the following ways:
- With Packet Filtering that filters incoming and outgoing data and accepts or rejects it depending on your predefined rules.
- Via an Application Gateway that applies security to applications like Telnet (a software program that can access remote computers and terminals over the Internet, or a TCP/IP computer network) and File Transfer Protocol Servers.
- By using a Circuit-Level Gateway when a connection such as a Transmission Control Protocol is made, and small pieces called packets are transported.
- With Proxy Servers: Proxy servers mask your true network address and capture every message that enters or leaves your network.
- Using Stateful Inspection or Dynamic Packet Filtering to compare a packet’s critical data parts. These are compared to a trusted information database to decide if the information is authorized.
Train Your Staff
Your staff can have a significant effect on your cybersecurity – either they know enough to keep your assets secure, or they don’t, and therefore present a serious threat to your security.
Security awareness training helps your employees and volunteers know how to recognize and avoid being victimized by phishing emails and scam websites.
They learn how to handle security incidents when they occur. If your employees and volunteers are informed about what to watch for, how to block attempts, and where they can turn for help, this alone is worth the investment.
A comprehensive cybersecurity training program will teach your staff how to handle a range of potential situations:
- How to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
- How to use firm technology without exposing data and other assets to external threats by accident.
- How to respond when you suspect that an attack is occurring or has occurred.
Protect Mobile Devices
Implement Mobile Device Management and Bring Your Own Device policies that allow employees to use their own devices in combination with the firm’swithout compromising your security:
- Require password protection and multi-factor authentication for mobile devices.
- Deploy remote access software that allows you to locate lost/stolen devices, and remotely wipe their data if need be.
- Develop a whitelist of apps that are approved for firm data access.
And don’t limit yourself to desktops, laptops, and phones – there’s more out there for you to take advantage of.
Have you considered what the Internet of Things and wearable devices can do for workplace efficiency? Now’s the time to get on board – up to 20.4 billion IoT devices were brought online last year.
Manage Account Lifecycles And Access
This is one of the more basic steps on the list, but no less important. It can’t really be automated or outsourced to any technological aids; it’s just about doing the work. You need to have a carefully implemented process to track the lifecycle of accounts on your network.
- Follow a careful system for how accounts are created for new members, how their security is maintained and verified through their life, and how they are removed when no longer needed.
- Implement secure configuration settings (complex passwords, multi-factor authentication, etc.) for all accounts.
- Implement controls for login and use, such as lockouts for too many unsuccessful logins, unsuccessful login alerts, and automatic log-off after a period of inactivity
Limit Unnecessary Physical Access
Your cybersecurity measures won’t amount to much if your laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices are left out in the open for anyone to take.
It’s one thing for a cybercriminal to hack into your system remotely. It can be significantly easier if they’re doing so directly on a firm device.
- Keep firm devices under lock and key when not in use.
- Maintain a detailed inventory of who has authorized use for specific firm devices.
- Don’t leave the login information on a sticky note on the keyboard of the device.
Need Expert Assistance Implementing Best Practices For Your Architecture Firm’s Cybersecurity?
Your architecture firm has a lot of moving parts. And if yours is like most, you increasingly rely on technology to stay productive.
You must make sure that the needs and desires of clients are met, but there are new and very serious dangers due to the increase in the number of cybersecurity attacks. No firm is immune. Whether you run a large or small architecture firm, you could be the victim of a cyberattack.
If you’re looking for expert guidance, the initial.IT team is here to help. We work with more architecture firms each year, protecting their systems and keeping users safe.