CYBER SECURITY | 5 MIN READ
While we don't have flying cars yet, society has advanced to the point that many other aspects of our lives are tied to technology. One way that our lives are inextricably tied to it is through the storing of our personal information and data online, whether that is through company accounts or our personal accounts, such as online banking.
Though this advancement has streamlined parts of our everyday life, there are risks associated with having data stored online. Hackers know that this information is valuable, which is why you need to ensure that your data is protected from them.
In this article, we'll teach you a few quick tips on how to keep your data safe and secure so it stays out of the hands of hackers.
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1. Install the Latest Firewalls and Antivirus Software
Simply put, firewalls keep would-be intruders where they should be – outside your network. By putting up a virtual “wall” against inbound and outbound traffic, firewalls choose whether to allow or block certain traffic through. Firewalls and anti-virus software serve as a good basis for building your network security.
While installing firewalls and anti-virus software are both great methods for securing your network, many people forget or push off updating them. While we know this process can be a nuisance, every day that you wait to update your cyber security infrastructure after new versions emerge leaves you more vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
If you are able to, enable auto-updates on your security software and schedule any updates for late at night when you're not using your computer.
2. Update and Protect Passwords
Weak passwords are one of the easiest ways to give a hacker access to your network. Consider strengthening your passwords and protecting where they're stored to better leverage your cyber security infrastructure.
Limit how much you write down your passwords, whether they're on a sticky note, an Excel spreadsheet, or in the Notes app on your phone. Writing a password down anywhere leaves it susceptible to being found by hackers. If you have too many passwords to remember, consider a secure password-storing program.
To maintain strong passwords, consider changing passwords every six months and creating passwords that don't use easy-to-find information such as birthdays or your children's names. When creating a password, make sure it's long and complex.
To make your passwords more complex, try creating a "passphrase" instead. Passphrases involve picking a meaningful phrase that you can remember, and making the first letter of every word the password. Additionally, install two-factor authentication on your devices if possible, seeing as it's a widely used secure method of protecting accounts.
3. Implement Role-Based Security
If you're a business, consider this: company-wide free information access means that hackers have more chances of finding an employee with access to important accounts. Implementing role-based security in your company limits the number of people who have access to sensitive files that hackers can hold for ransom.
To minimize the risk of important information being leaked or stolen, assign different levels of security clearance to employees based on what information they need to do their job.
For instance, a blue level employee who is a sales representative might only have access to sales databases, while a red level employee who is an HR representative might only have access to HR databases. You can also restrict administrator rights so that only essential personnel like an IT manager have them.
Role-based security also prevents employees with bad intentions from accessing information that they didn't even need to see in the first place.
4. Educate Employees
Cyber security training that highlights best practices for keeping your data safe online is increasingly becoming an important aspect of employee instruction, especially for employees that aren’t tech-savvy. It is one of the most important factors in establishing and maintaining a secure company network.
You could have the most secure network in the world and your employees could still render it ineffective with poor Internet practices. The employees of your company are its greatest asset and, unfortunately, its greatest liability.
Having cyber security training for your company can educate everybody on Internet best practices, from how to detect spam emails to tips on creating secure passwords. Good cyber security training minimizes the risk of your other network security protocols being rendered ineffective.
Additionally, it decreases the likelihood that your employees will fall victim to cyber-attacks by opening spam or going to malware-infected websites. Establishing basic cyber security practices and policies helps make everybody aware of how to behave online.
5. Consider Managed IT Services
If you are a business, you might not have the time to institute all these changes. Managed IT services can help put all of the above suggestions and more into action. Managed IT services layer your cyber security infrastructure and then employs a team of IT experts to address any threats or issues that pop up.
A managed services provider can install layers of cyber security hardware and software, such as firewalls, anti-virus software, and anti-ransomware software. To take the burden of updating software off of you, a managed services provider can update all cyber security software for you and install necessary security patches.
They can conduct phishing tests to find employees who fall for phishing traps, and then educate those employees on how to recognize and avoid phishing attacks.
Managed IT services can help you create a password policy and role-based security plan that works for your business too. In the event that a ransomware attack happens or your network goes down, they can reduce downtime by quickly recovering data due to their use of frequent and secure backups.
Don't wait until you're the victim of a ransomware attack to improve your cyber security.
Worried about keeping your data off the dark web? Read our definitive dark web guide now to get all your questions answered.
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.