How to Stay Cybersafe in 2020

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Cybersafe: With the new decade comes the marking of a truly digital era. The age of the internet has meant the web has infiltrated our daily lives; the way we communicate, share news, find information, and conduct business. In many ways, this infiltration has made these aspects of our lives more convenient, less time-consuming and more easily connected. However, with two sides to every story and coin, the drawback here is the threat to the safety of our information.

Some people fear technology and widespread use of the web because the dangers seem elusive and beyond them. However, the benefits of its use are too good to neglect. Equipped with knowledge on how to protect yourself, your information, and your business affairs, you can still use the power of the world wide web without putting your security at risk. 

For (Small) Businesses – Cyber Security

Cybersafe: Cyber security for businesses has never been more important. Small businesses often overlook it because only the breaches of big-name companies make headline news. Often, they have a false sense of security that hackers only want to attack large companies with huge assets and pools of information.

In fact, according to Keeper Security’s 2019 survey, 66% of company leaders believe cyberattacks are unlikely to happen to them. However, these small companies then become low-hanging fruit. Hackers prefer to go after many small companies with easily hackable information, rather than a few large companies with deep layers of security measures intact. 

Failing to safeguard your business’ data can have dire consequences, including tarnishing your company name, losing client trust, spurning lawsuits, losing mass amounts of money, and even causing the business to declare bankruptcy and close altogether.

Hire an IT Service Provider

The best way to secure your business against cyber risks is to employ the services of an outsourced IT company. One of an IT providers main tasks is to protect your business, assets, client information and name from cyber threats. For example, IT support firms such as https://www.mustardit.co.uk/it-consultancy-london/ can provide quality service and advice regarding cybersafe consultancy for your business’ needs. They can set up proper preventative security measures from the outset to stop breaches before they ever begin. Your IT professionals will ensure your company doesn’t become an easy target for cybersafe thieves. 

Furthermore, your IT provider will perform regular updates and security health checks as maintenance for your ongoing security needs. With all of the other tasks and operations your employees must handle, such maintenance may get bumped down on the priority list.

However, failing to make it a priority can have serious consequences. It’s advisable to designate this important but often undervalued task to an outsider whose job it is to prioritize it. Additionally, IT staff are regularly informed, trained and updated on the latest threats and how to protect against them. 

Educate Your Staff

Only 9% of those interviewed in the aforementioned survey think that individual employees are responsible for cybersafe. While it’s the CEO’s responsibility to prioritize cybersafe, they must encourage a proper attitude that makes everyone aware of how much they play a role in maximizing or minimizing company risk.

If they take it seriously and are informed properly, they can follow the appropriate behavior which will prevent infiltration. Hackers rely on security weaknesses, like the behavior of uninformed staff. You should create security guidelines for staff and have meetings about once a month to review best security practices.

Be Smart and Follow the Rules

There are certain precautions your business should undoubtedly be aware of and implement immediately, if they aren’t being implemented already. Unsurprisingly, many of these involve the education of your staff. For example, strong password creation is a simple, yet effective way of preventing hacking. Changing passwords often is another best practice which takes minimal effort but makes a big difference in terms of risk management.

You can also set up multi-factor authentication as a sort of virtual double-locking system. These systems are less inconvenient than one would imagine; for example, it can be as simple as checking an app within the employees’ phone once a month. Employees normally have their phone around anyway. Files, programs and devices should also be encrypted as a further security wall. Speaking of walls, you should have a firewall set up, as well as anti-virus software and malware.

Personal Cybersecurity

Cybersafe aside from being aware of cyber threats in a work setting, you must also attend to risks involved in your personal affairs and accounts. Cybercriminals can directly steal money or your identity. They can build a profile about you and accumulate more information to gain control and remove yours. 

Beware Using Devices in Public Places

Public places are an ideal way for hackers to get into your good stuff. Don’t leave your devices like tablets, phones or laptops, open when you go to the bathroom at Starbucks. You may as well have all your personal files, documents and passwords right there on the table.

Second, pay attention to what you are loading and signing into over public wifi. Note that in such spaces it’s much easier for thieves to attain your passwords, bank details, photos and documents. One way to protect against these criminals is to use a VPN on your devices, which will act as a shield between the public network in your coffee shop and the private one.

A newer trend is for hackers to infect USB charging points, say at the international airport, with vicious malware. Opt for the charger you can plug into the regular-old power socket instead.

Passwords and Information

First, ensure your passwords are “going to the gym and working out” strong. It’s recommended that they are at least 15 characters, including lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and special characters. To make such a lengthy password easier to remember, you can use a string of words or a nonsensical sentence.

You should avoid using the same set of passwords across multiple accounts, as it makes it easier for hackers to gain more access to your information. Instead, you should make each password unique and complex. The Guardian suggests using a password manager app so that you can simply remember one password and let the app keep track of the variety of complex passwords for all your other accounts.

Also, don’t share your passwords with many others and don’t overshare other kinds of information in general on apps and devices, like your location, your address or other personal data. On security questions, it’s best to lie with made-up answers, as a seasoned hacker can find the real answers to these questions elsewhere. 

Protect Your Phone

If a thief retrieves your smartphone somehow, you could be at high risk. They will have access to your email and social media accounts, as well as any which you have saved passwords to. What is more, they will have a means to uncover these passwords.

To protect against this, you can change the settings on your phone so that it will reset to factory settings and wipe out all logins and information if too many incorrect attempts are made to unlock your phone. Biometrics is another good safety measure, but the pin workaround makes it still necessary to have this protective setting.

You can also involve your phone in 2FA (Two-factor authentication) in case a thief retrieves your password. The extra authentication acts as a second wall of security. However, don’t use text messages as a means of 2FA because a criminal may reset all passwords to your account with a new SIM if they steal your phone.

Technology is improving our lives day-by-day, and yet the humans which utilize it unfortunately – at times – have ill intentions. To prevent these humans from using technology to steal from you or ruin your company, educate yourself and take the precautionary measures necessary for the ultimate cybersecurity.

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