11 18 2013

11 18 2013

Small Business Digital Security: Account Privileges Running Loose

Setting passwords to computers and software accounts is an important step for small businesses to protect valuable information. However, with the importance of technology growing in the workplace, businesses may find many or all workers need access to computers, and this complicates how security is implemented. While creating a separate account for each employee is a good way to keep information private, many businesses fail to set account privileges appropriately. As a result, the cashier who only needs the computer to calculate prices could have access to private financial or employee information.

According to a survey by BeyondTrust, 44 percent of employees have access rights that are not necessary to their current role and 28 percent have retrieved unwarranted information.

What data are they looking at? Of those who accessed data, nearly one-quarter said they viewed financial reports and almost half said they’ve looked at salary details, HR data and personnel documents.

A curious glance
This doesn’t mean that a quarter of employees are plotting against the company. Many could be looking to find out what their coworkers are earning or read the minutes of a private meeting. According to the survey, 80 percent of respondents said it’s at least somewhat likely that data is accessed out of curiosity. Even so, any unwanted access to sensitive information can be harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.

“Allowing any employee unfettered access to non-essential company data is both unnecessary and dangerous and should be an issue that is resolved quickly,” said Brad Hibbert of BeyondTrust.

So what should small business owners do to tighten their system? Setting privilege levels on employee accounts is a start, but managers need to make sure controls are tight. According to the survey, two-thirds of respondents said there is a system in place to monitor privileges, however, over half of those respondents stated they could get around the controls. According to IT Business Edge, one solution is to place all sensitive information in a digital vault, which moves data to a separate, dedicated server that can only be accessed through a single, encrypted channel. However, small businesses should still make sure account privileges are set appropriately.

Up-to-date IT system
Small businesses in need of an upgrade to enhance security or simply to improve productivity should consider getting a small business loan. Unlike banks who take weeks to process information and require a hefty load of paperwork, National Funding has a hassle-free application process that gets businesses financed in as little as 24 hours.

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