5 Tips to Manage Cyber Security Risks
Cyber security is the business of trying to keep you – and your data – safe whenever you use things like the Internet, your smartphone, Bluetooth, or any other smart device like your brand new television.
Safe from what you may ask? Well, cybercriminals mainly.
In an age where computer data is King, cybercriminals are people who know how to steal or access restricted digital information.
Whether you are a technology newbie, or you run an online business, this article will offer 5 tips you can use to protect yourself from digital attacks.
1. Password, password and password
A password is essentially the equivalent of your house keys. Getting your password hacked is just like a stranger having a spare copy of your keys and entering your home without your knowledge or permission.
Only in this case, your ‘home’ is made up not of furniture and that new TV, but will contain things like your email and social media accounts. If you want to avoid the emotional and financial costs that usually follow any type of digital break-in or access violation, a strong password is very important.
Good password management involves using long and diverse passwords. Anything with a strong mix of characters, written with 20 characters or more, is highly recommended. Never use the same password for multiple websites or online services. You should also update your passwords every 6 months and never ever share them with others. Don’t write them down on post-it notes stuck to your monitor, but use password managers instead.
2. Software Updates
Software updates are crucial for making sure your smart devices, computer programs and operating systems are always up-to-date with the latest security measures. If you never update your software, your devices gradually become vulnerable to malicious digital attacks.
For ease of mind, activate automatic updates for your operating system and use web browsers such as Firefox or Chrome which receive regular, automatic security updates.
In addition, you could employ a dedicated software updater to ensure all your computer programs are kept as secure as possible with automatic updates.
3. Personally Identifiable information [PII]
PII is any data that can be used by a cybercriminal to potentially identify and/or locate a person. It could be anything from your name, location details and address, date of birth, IP address and social security number. As we live and operate in an ‘always-online’ world of social media, you should always be careful with any personal information you choose to share online – especially on social media like Facebook.
Check your privacy settings across all your social media accounts. Be aware that if you add your birthday, address or any other critical PII on platforms like Facebook, you increase the risk for a digital security breach. This is a rule to live by: whatever it is you don’t want the entire world to potentially know, then don’t put it online!
A firewall is the digital equivalent to that high fence around your house. This piece of software defends your devices and data from digital malicious attacks by providing a shield from cybercriminals and viruses. It essentially prevents security breaches by controlling how your online device communicates and interacts with the Internet.
Most computer operating systems – whether you’re on a Mac or PC – have a built-in firewall you can activate and customize accordingly. You can also ensure the safety of your home network by using a Wi-Fi router with a built-in firewall. For an extra level of digital protection, since built-in firewalls cannot offer full coverage, there is a range of free firewall options.
5. Data Protection and Back-up
It never gets old: Data is King. Protecting sensitive digital data is what cyber security is all about. Never keep data like credit card numbers, student and healthcare records stored on your desktop computer, laptop or smartphone. Always remove this data from your digital devices as soon as it is no longer needed. Most importantly, use encryption software whenever storing or transmitting sensitive information.
One of the few guaranteed ways of dealing with a digital security breach is to erase all data from your computer or smart device and re-install its operating system. This is why all vital data always needs to be backed-up – that means stored in multiple digital locations. Avoid the possibility of losing your critical data by using backup software.
At Bocasay, a key component of our IT specialists’ abilities is advanced security tools for online businesses that are seamless and merge with your own needs and strategic goals. Get in touch to find out more.