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    Businesses Need IT Professionals to Keep Them Secure

    You hear it all the time: someone broke into a database and stole a bunch of Social Security or credit card numbers. Or they found and posted information that was supposed to be confidential. The hacked company tries its best to calm nervous and angry customers, and lots of people are embarrassed.

    Most companies know that it's very important to keep the information on their computers and networks safe from hackers. Information technology (IT) staff are literally on the front lines to protect information. Those who have finished an educational program in IT or computer networking and security (CNS) know how important it is to protect all company information. But many companies are not listening—not yet.

    A recent survey of more than 400 firms concluded that companies need to do more to protect the information, or data, that they collect and keep. Venafi, a company that provides IT security services, found that while 90% of companies encrypt data, only 20% do it for all the information they have. (Encrypted data are disguised to look like letters and numbers jumbled together.)

    Even worse, 25% of companies said they only secure data if they are required by law. Examples include credit card information, which we know from the headlines doesn't work very well all the time.

    Venafi says there are five steps companies should use to protect its computers and networks :

    1. Train all staff to use security tools and follow-up with them four times a year. Only 33% percent of companies it surveyed do this. 2. Protect all information kept in "clouds" (outside the company with a cyberspace storage service). Just 46% take this step. 3. Protect all company data by encrypting them. Only ten percent of companies do this. 4. Make sure there are people who know what to do if security is broken. Companies  need people who know how to get the information back, how to stop the "leak," and so on. Just 45% of firms have a system in place if this happens. 5. Don't leave IT security with one person. Make sure that the responsibility is shared so that the company is not unprotected when an IT staffer leaves.

    Companies are starting to get the message that they need to do a better job protecting information. This is where people trained in IT and CNS can help them with this.


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