With all the news about hacked emails, data breaches, and ID theft, “better safe than sorry” is an adage that finds itself more prevalent in today’s new threat of cyber attacks. As these events become more common, it’s no longer a question of “if” it will happen to you, but rather “when” it will happen. The best way to prepare yourself for a cyber-attack is to take action before it happens. Preventive measures now can help reduce the likelihood of an incident.
Take the time to establish security-conscious habits both in your professional and personal life, and before long it will be part of your routine. Here are some cyber security tips to help both employers and employees protect their business and personal digital information.
- Make sure your company Wi-Fi networks are secure and hidden.
You can configure your wireless access point or router so that it doesn’t broadcast the name of your network. You should also require passwords for access to your Wi-Fi.
- Train your employees to have cyber security common sense.
No matter how big or small your company is, security is everyone’s responsibility. Educate your employees about safe practices so they’re aware of the risks.
- Make sure that company email websites are accessed remotely using only secure browsers (i.e. that your webmail URL begins with https and not http).
Instruct employees to only access their work email from a private Wi-Fi network. If they are using public Wi-Fi, they should use a VPN (virtual private network).
- Designate a disaster recovery plan for company data.
Your company should have a secure location off-site to store back-ups. Have a procedure in place so your company is prepared to bounce back in the event of a disaster.
- Keep your machines clean.
Make sure all software applications, browsers, and operating systems are up-to-date. Make it a habit to perform routine maintenance on all of your IT systems.
- Use a reliable password manager to create strong, unique passwords.
Don’t reuse the same password for multiple accounts. Don’t even assign the same security questions for multiple accounts. If 2-factor authentication is an option, then use it!
- Be wary of clicking links or downloading attachments found in emails.
Even if you know the sender, you should always be careful about clicking on links you don’t recognize. If the sites pertain to personal, financial, or any sensitive information, it’s safer to go directly to the site to login rather than click the link in the email.
- Back up your computer and mobile devices regularly.
Keep the back-up in a safe location that’s not immediately in the vicinity of your computer, or use a cloud solution for storage so that you aren’t relying on any physical hardware.
- Don’t ever write down your passwords!
And don’t ever put them on a post-it note next to your computer monitor! We cannot stress this enough. There are free mobile apps that are a more secure way to store your passwords.
- Always lock your screen when you step away from your computer.
It’s an easy keyboard shortcut (Windows + L) to lock your screen. You should also use a password protected screensaver that will automatically keep your computer secure after periods on inactivity.