IT security firestarters and how to manage them



  By Asavin Wattanajantra, writer at Metia.



 When we’re talking about fire risk in IT, security is the tinder dry forest waiting for a wayward spark. While it’s great to have the tools and processes in place to put out fires and minimise their impact when they inevitably start, prevention is always better than cure.

If you can stop the fires starting in the first place, you’ll have more time to focus on the business, comfortable in the knowledge that systems are secure.

Windows 8.1 has numerous features to help ensure that the risk of a security-related fire starting in your business is minimised. Here are five of the top risks and how Windows 8.1 can help:

1. Risky personal devices

Windows 8.1 is part of our quest to make sure that as many devices as possible, both enterprise and consumer, have the tools that make life a whole lot easier for IT administrators.

Windows 8.1 continues the trend of building security devices or chips with cryptography functions into laptops – a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) can make hardware ready out-of-the-box for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) requirements. TPM 2.0 is required for all connected standby (InstantGo) devices, which Windows 8.1 is designed for.

2. Devices without encryption

Whether it's due to a mistake by an employee or the work of an opportunist thief, there's always a chance of IT equipment going missing. A criminal might get more use out of financial details held on in Excel spreadsheet than from the stolen laptop itself.

BitLocker Drive Encryption prevents criminals from accessing confidential information by scrambling the data on entire volumes. With Windows 8.1 there is BitLocker support for device encryption on x86 and x64-based computers, with a TPM that supports InstantGo.

3. Corporate data leakage

Encryption is good, but control is better. Windows 8.1 wipes corporate content from a device if needed, while keeping personal data untouched.

Workplace Join gives employee access to enterprise files from their device, but restricts access to the whole system. By giving them permissions, they can only work with the files they've been briefed to work with.

4. Forgotten passwords

We know passwords can be hard to remember. For simplicity people often use the same password for every login. But in making life easier they also create a significant security risk. Biometrics solves the issue: a unique identifier that can’t be forgotten or stolen.

We now support biometric security devices with fingerprint readers running Windows 8.1. Every time a user sees a Windows credential prompt, they can use biometrics, thereby eliminating the need for a password for secure sites and in-app user account validations.

5. Malware

IT departments wage a daily war against ever-evolving viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware. Windows 8.1 has been battle-hardened with enhancements. Improved Windows Defender offers real-time protection against threats, with high-performance monitoring that can detect bad behaviours in the memory, registry or file system, before signatures are even created.

Be ready

As every fire fighter knows, we’re never going to reduce the risk of fires starting to zero. We need to expect them to happen and be ready to respond quickly when they do. But steps can be taken to minimise the likelihood of security being breached in the first place, and Windows 8.1 gives you the tools that mean you’ll be able to get on the front foot.

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