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7 Cyber Security Questions to Ask Your Supplier

26/06/2017 in Security

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Have you ever wondered if your IT Supplier is doing their best to keep your system safe from a cyber-attack? This article outlines 7 vital questions to ask them to put your mind at rest.

The threat of theft of your data, money and identity has never been higher. A well-managed system will ensure you avoid 90% of cyber-attacks. But securing and maintain a secure system takes a lot of work. Any reputable IT Supplier will be working away behind the scenes to keep their customers secure.

But how do you know if your supplier is fulfilling their promises to protect your system?

Short of becoming a cyber security expert yourself, your only option is to ask them. My advice is to ask detailed questions and make sure that the answers are understandable to a lay-person. If you can’t get that from them they may have something to hide.

Make sure your IT supplier is keeping you safe by asking them these 7 key questions:

Are my backups running successfully?

Your no. 1 priority must be your backups. If something nasty corrupts your data, then you’ll be able to recover.

Make sure that your IT supplier can easily tell you all about your backups – when they run, what data is included, where copies are held and when they last ran successfully. Any reputable supplier will have that information at their fingertips because they should be checking it every day.

Is my anti-virus software working properly?

Essential to your protection is effective anti-virus or anti-malware software. Your IT supplier should be making sure it is running on all your devices, that it is kept up to date and that it is configured to give you the best possible defence. Hackers are changing their attacks all the time so you need to make sure that your IT supplier is on top of this 24/7. Modern tools available to IT suppliers make it easy to do this so there is no excuse.

Is my software up to date?

The latest version of your software is the most secure. Your IT supplier should be taking responsibility for checking this and should be able to prove it. Ask them how they do this, what is the status of each machine and what software is checked. At the very least, the list should include Microsoft Windows, and common 3rd party applications such as Adobe Reader, Java, Flash and all the Internet browsers you use.

Is my firewall secure?

Your firewall is key to your security. You don’t need to understand what is does you just need to know that it is managed correctly. Over time changes to this device can leave an open door for hackers to get into your system. Ask when your IT supplier last reviewed the security of your firewall. Confirm how changes are checked and approved before being made. Ask to see firewall documentation and the results of any review in plain English.

Are user accounts and passwords secure?

The usernames and passwords on your system are like your front door keys. If someone malicious gets hold of them then your system could be in danger. Make sure that your IT supplier is removing old accounts when people leave, that secure passwords are enforced and that accounts with access to the entire system are strictly controlled. Don’t forget to ask how your IT supplier protects you when their technicians come and go.

Are my computers being set up in a secure way?

Ask your supplier to confirm that when they set up a new device for you they remove unnecessary software, disable autoplay, lock down administrator access and enable the Windows firewall. To ensure this is happening consistently your IT supplier needs to have a documented process for setting up new devices. And they need to ensure that their technicians stick to it. Ask for evidence.

Are you checking for system alerts?

All computers keep a track of what is happening and can alert you when something goes wrong. Your IT supplier should be keeping an eye on these alerts and sorting them out before they affect you. Ask your supplier how they do this, how quickly they respond when they see a problem and how far they will go to fix it.

These measures are in line with the Cyber Essentials scheme and are recognised by industry and government as an absolute minimum to protect your system.

If your IT supplier cannot reassure you then you need to find one that can.

Find out how we protect all our customers. Call us on 020 8943 8480 or visit this page on our website.