How to secure your online accounts


The rapid uptake of cloud computing over the past decade has seen business processes move from in-house IT to web-based services. Because of this, protecting your network is now only one part of protecting your computing environment from cyberthreats. Today, the emphasis should be on account-level security and protecting your information assets wherever they live. While traditional measures like firewalls and antivirus still play an important role, protecting accounts no matter where they’re accessed and from which device is now vital to ensuring your data remains safe.

The importance of multilayered security

Passwords have always played a central role in protecting digital data. Every online account is protected by a username and password, but that doesn’t necessarily make them safe. For a start, many people don’t even PIN-protect their smartphones, and they leave their accounts logged in all the time. But, even with a password policy that requires the use of complex, alphanumeric passwords, there’s still a risk of phishing scams stealing login credentials.

Multilayered security uses several levels of security to protect online accounts. For example, by having an additional verification layer in place, the account will be far safer from phishing attacks since it will be much harder for hackers to get their hands on the additional information needed to log in. Multifactor authentication (MFA) offers exponentially improved security by requiring users to use more than one method to verify their identities, especially when logging in from unrecognized devices, networks, or geographical locations. The additional verification method can take a variety of forms, such as a one-time security token, SMS confirmation, or a fingerprint scan.

Why you need round-the-clock monitoring

Cybercriminals don’t exactly conform to the nine-till-five routine, so neither can your security. Taking a proactive approach is essential so that you can stop attacks before they can happen or, at the very least, dramatically reduce the damage to your organization. Round-the-clock monitoring, preferably from the outside looking in, will automatically detect suspicious activities like logins from unknown devices and networks. More sophisticated solutions feature heuristic scanning to identify patterns of suspicious behavior, rather than relying on known malware signatures alone.

Another proactive measure you can take is to deploy data loss prevention (DLP) software. By applying DLP to your online accounts, it’s possible to automatically prevent sensitive data from leaving your network over an unsecure channel. For example, DLP can automatically detect and block information like payment card or login details from being sent out over email or other channels like social media. DLP is especially useful for mitigating the risk of insider threat, in which an employee accidentally (or intentionally) sends confidential information over the wrong channel.

Keeping things simple

By now, most of us have dozens of online accounts to manage. Things quickly become even more complicated in the business world, where it’s often easy to overlook accounts belonging to employees who have left the company or changed roles. While some websites make it hard to delete accounts, you should always go to the trouble of purging any that you’re not planning to use again. You should also avoid storing any confidential information with accounts that you don’t use regularly.

Another way to simplify the protection of your online accounts is to ensure employees can only access those which they need to do their jobs. Also known as the principle of least privilege, this concept greatly simplifies management and reduces the number of vulnerabilities. For example, if there’s no need for an employee to have access to customer payment information, then you shouldn’t grant it to them. With a centralized administrator dashboard, it’s possible to manage access rights online, immediately revoking access to employees who have left the company or whose devices have been reported lost or stolen.

Integrated Technology Solutions offers the technology guidance and services you need to secure your online presence and drive business growth. Call us today to request your free network assessment.