Companies and individuals are connected to the world through many different technologies and applications – unseen gateways into our lives all too easily encroached. Unfortunately, technology breaches are now commonplace, ushering in a new industry of security and monitoring measures to protect us from a new age of thieves and vandals. This new reality means that keeping systems secure is not solely the responsibility of information technology employees. Every individual must do their part to keep personal and organizational data safe from potential breaches. Important measures include:
- Make sure all your computer software––including your web browser––are updated with the latest versions. Keeping software up-to-date ensures security patches being deployed by your IT team can succeed in blocking security threats.
- Create a strong password and keep it private. It could take up to two centuries to crack a password consisting of 12 characters or more.
- Treat all Wi-Fi networks as a potential security risk. Encrypt sensitive data when using a public Wi-Fi network. And never check financial or other sensitive accounts when using public Wi-Fi.
- Be on the lookout for emails, phone calls and other messages that try to get to secure data. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems off, trust your instinct and convey your concerns to a manager or member of the security team.
- Don’t click on links or attached files in emails or text messages from senders you don’t know. Even if you do know the sender, hover over the link before you click as they may have been hacked or someone could be spoofing them. There are many ways to spot these breach attempts known as phishing. Visit www.staysafeonline.org to see them all.
- Consider regular, mandatory cybersecurity training for all your employees. Several reputable online programs include tracking and certification software.
- Formalize a Cybersecurity Plan for your organization. Practice it and keep it updated annually.
Whether keeping your data safe at home, at the office or on the go, remember: you are the first line of defense against cyber security threats.