Emerging Markets Law

Cyber Hygiene: Upgrade Your Hardware

This fourth installment in our cyber hygiene series will discuss the importance of hardware upgrades in maintaining corporate data security. As with all the best practices we recommend in this series, the idea behind protection is to avoid incidents where possible, mitigate damage if they occur, and have a defensible position or "storyline" if you suffer a dispute or investigation. 

One very easy way to add a layer of security to your internal business data is to keep your hardware current. We all know that newer cars have more safety mechanisms built into them than older cars, and generally work better than aged vehicles. The same is true for computers, laptops, portable devices, smartphones, VPN dongles, and other boxes that connect to your hardware.

Older machines may not have the same amount of memory or processing power, may have corrupted elements, and may not be repairable by industry technicians. Because they have been around longer, any baked-in vulnerabilities in them will be known and more easily exploited. Most importantly of all, older machines will lack the ability to run the newest and most sophisticated operating systems, anti-virus, and other protective software (this will be the subject of our next post). 

In addition to lending your network an additional layer of protective security, updated hardware has two appreciable advantages: newer software can also lock down/locate/wipe/encrypt your data if a device is lost or stolen. This can be a significant advantage in security planning. Furthermore, if yours is the kind of business that regularly evaluates, and keeps up to date, its data storage and hardware, you will have a better story to tell if you ever are a defendant or a target relating to a data incident. Planning and preventive measures are worth more than just what they cost in dollars: they convey that you are thinking ahead and constantly assessing what is "reasonable" (or better) risk management for your business. 

The full complement of protective measures regarding data security can be used to weave an actual net of security, and a virtual net of defenses to claims about security issues. Hardware upgrades are one of the most straightforward, easiest, and cost-effective threads in those nets. 

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