Apple security checklist for business owners
Business owners face a challenging situation with the modern digital workplace – not only do they have to provide employees with easy-to-use applications and flexible working structures, but they are increasingly under threat from a range of cyber security threats.
This applies across business sectors, but in particular to those with a workforce that uses Apple Macs. Staff can often be one of the weakest links in the security chain, simply through a lack of security knowledge. For example, many professionals are now better informed about good password practices, however this is just the starting point – there are other security areas managers need to guide and assist their staff with, especially when dealing with users who firmly believe in the common “wisdom” that Macs are impervious to security threats.
Knowing what to add to a security policy can be the most difficult place to start. This is why we have prepared a helpful checklist to refer to when bringing new staff on board and for existing employees who might need a refresher in best practices.
Start with passwords
· Are they strong and varied enough? 123456 should never be used.
· Set a recurring reminder for staff to change passwords. Make sure individuals actually do change their corporate and personal passwords regularly.
· Consider setting up employees with a password manager. Easing the burden on peoples’ memories can improve results.
Product updates should follow
· Browsers, web plugins, applications, Mac OS X. All need regular updating.
· Website content management system? Do not become a source of malware, it could harm your company’s reputation and bottom line.
· Don’t forget smart mobile devices. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) must be addressed.
· Enable auto-updates or choose a solution that allows remote management. Make it easier for yourself and your staff.
· Risk management. Organise one-on-one sessions to explain the risks for those who are more lax with product updates.
Malware be gone
· Cloud is generally more flexible. Cut your administration by managing everything from a single software suite wherever you are.
· Malware scanning 101. Malware comes via Windows and Mac users, make sure staff are protected 24/7.
· Email advice is important. Phishing and social media are often exploited by cyber-criminals searching for an easy way in.
· Use Apple’s tools. Powerful protection if configured correctly.
· Gather data. Search for a security suite that collects employee usage data to gain a more comprehensive understanding of which individuals could benefit from extra training.
Advice for all
· Layered defences are best. Staff with anti-malware protection, experience and increased awareness are better protected than those with only one.
· Think broader than malware. Threats can be stored on USB sticks, delivered via insecure Wi-Fi or by spoof device crash reports.
· Avoid jailbreaking mobile devices. Never a good idea from a security point of view.
· Stay informed. There are companies dedicated to Apple security, ensure you read the resources available to you regularly.
A competent security policy should include everything from threat guidance in plain English, password advice and malware notifications, to trusted security suites and best practice programmes that are regularly reviewed and updated.
The previous list is by no means exhaustive, but it should provide you with the first steps to protecting your corporate and customer data from those trying to profit from one of your most valuable assets.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”