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On 23 September 2015, the Association for Economic Security of Central Germany (VSWM), the Thuringia Development Bank, TÜV Thuringia, the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses of Thuringia (BVMW) and the German Trade Association hosted the IT Security Forum. The presentations were held under the motto "Information protection is becoming an entrepreneurial duty! - Liability risks - Solution proposals" and warned against cyber attacks, took a look at potential threats and discussed prevention measures.

Hartmuth Carl, Managing Director of VSMW, welcomes the participants of the IT Security Forum 2015 in the Atrium of the Thuringia Development Bank in Erfurt.

Cyber threats need to be taken seriously

Many people do not realize the seriousness of the risk posed by cyber attacks. Passwords are easy to crack, firewalls alone do not always offer sufficient protection. Yet we feel safe. "This won't happen to me!" The average user is at risk of having confidential documents, photos or bank data stolen. On a business level, such an incident could threaten the existence of an entire company. Governments feel threatened by terrorist networks and espionage. External attacks should, therefore, not be underestimated.

Identifying risks and taking precautions

In our last blog post we spoke about backups and how best to protect against data leakage. This week, the Chairman of the Board of Keyweb AG, Frank Nowag, held a speech on "Successful IT outsourcing" and informed about the potential security benefits associated with using external service providers.

The outsourcing of IT and web projects offers more than mere cost savings. A professional provider also guarantees an emergency power supply, the management of backups, the creation and analysis of log files, service-level agreements for a high level of availability, and customer-oriented on-site support in the case of emergencies. As a server location, Germany not only offers geographical proximity, but also legal security. This also applies to Keyweb AG with its certified data centers in Thuringia. Hosted in Germany also means that the data is subject to German data protection law, which currently does not permit data retention or the disclosure of personal data.

A further important security aspect is choosing an appropriate operating system. Everyone should decide for themselves whether Windows or Linux is better suited. Due to its widespread use, however, Windows is targeted more often by malicious software. Keyweb uses only Linux internally. However, customers can also purchase Windows on request.

Additional safety precautions should be taken, no matter what operating system is used. Even choosing an appropriate password it is more difficult than you might think. A simple number sequence or the birthday of a loved one is easy to crack. Choose an extra long password, perhaps an entire sentence or the first letters of a sentence using both uppercase and lowercase letters. Do not use the same password for every website, do not write down the password, and remember to change it regularly.

Additional virus protection programs should also be used. The protection can be constantly updated and it makes you aware of intruders. A bootable emergency storage medium such as a DVD, CD or USB stick is useful if the computer crashes. Usually, the operating system can be repaired and restored.

Even if it is a somewhat annoying task: Update your programs. This allows you to synchronize new features and eliminate potential defects. Since the majority of security threats comes from the web, it is also recommendable to use web protection. This will warn you about questionable websites.

Of course you will receive extensive support with choosing a trustworthy provider. Keyweb, for example, offers 24/7 monitoring of our dedicated servers. This means that your server is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing us to immediately detect any abnormalities. There is also a managed firewall for averting dangers, which blocks potential ports on all central routers. Furthermore, we offer server-side virus protection, a free reboot service and log file analysis.

As you can see, effective all-round protection must take many different factors into account. IT outsourcing can be quite helpful in this regard. The exchange of ideas, as promoted by the IT Security Forum, is a good opportunity to stay informed and up to date.

The bottom line of the event

The event was opened and concluded by Mr Hartmut Carl, the executive board member of the VSMW, who underlined the importance of raising the awareness of employees with regard to IT security. A detailed assessment of businesses, even of small businesses, can minimize the risk of cyber attacks. Often the weaknesses are where they are least expected.

The participants agreed that continuous employee training is key for raising an awareness for potential threats and eliminating negligence.

The coming together of IT providers, interested parties from various business sectors, agencies and legal experts is an indication of how important the topic is or should be.

Keyweb would like to express its thanks for the invitation and will, of course, continue to inform about IT and hosting.

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Keyweb AG at the IT Security Forum 2015 von Keyweb AG ist lizenziert unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung 4.0 International Lizenz.