Any company that takes cyber security seriously will have an array of defences to plug the gaps that cyber criminals could exploit. Unfortunately, fewer create defences for the biggest danger of all — humans. Our cyber security experts have created a top 10 cyber security tips below to help you protect your business against cyber criminals.
You can have all the security tools you can afford, but a single person who fails to follow procedures can let the hackers in. Simply clicking a link or opening an attachment can be the fatal step that leads to a massive data breach.
So what are the things to remind your employees of — or to remember yourself, for that matter? We have ten of the most important.
1. You’re Not Immune To Cyber Attacks
The worst possible attitude to take for the purposes of cyber security is “it couldn’t happen to me.” It doesn’t matter whether your business is large or small, you’re a target for cyber criminals. The biggest difference between those who are victims and those who aren’t is vigilance.
2. Up Your Password Game
Having a strong password is a minimum requirement for cyber security. It shouldn’t be anything that could be too obviously associated with you (such as pet’s name) in case the criminals are following your social media. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and other symbols — and, most importantly, keep it to yourself. Don’t write it down anywhere, and certainly not on a note stuck to your computer.
3. Keep Your Devices Locked
Any unattended computer, tablet or phone is a vulnerability. If you’re going to leave it, even for a very short time, make sure it’s locked up, either physically or by logging out of your account. Whatever you need to do to ensure no-one can use it while you’re away. And that goes for any flash drives or external hard drives, as well.
4. Think Before You Click
If you receive an email with links or attachments, don’t click on it unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe. Even if you know the sender, if the message’s contents are unusual or unexpected, the account may have been hacked. And don’t assume a link is necessarily safe because the URL looks familiar. A favourite trick of cyber criminals is to use a URL that looks like one you’d trust, but with one or two characters different.
5. Be Careful How You Browse
You can’t use the internet without browsing, but beware of clicking on anything that looks interesting, especially if you’re not on your own personal computer with a trusted network. One of those sites you land on could be a trap. If you’re using a public computer or a café’s free WiFi, your data could be at risk.
6. Back-ups Are Your Friend
Cyber criminals don’t just steal your data. They may also block your access to it, or crash your devices so that everything’s lost. Make sure you back your data up regularly, preferably to a secure cloud service, as well as keeping your anti-virus software up to date.
7. Watch Your Hardware
It isn’t only emails and websites that pose a danger to your devices. Malware can lurk on external hard drives, flash drives or smartphones, so be vigilant about what you’re plugging into your computer.
8. Criminals Use Social Media Too
The dangers of social media have been much in the news lately, but a less-publicised hazard is that cyber criminals may be using it to get information from you. Finding out where you work or when you go on holiday can help them — and those games based on using your first school or your first pet can give them the answer to your security questions. Think before you share information.
9. There Are Also Dangers Offline
Just because cyber criminals target you online doesn’t mean they don’t also try to get your information in other ways. You’ve probably at some time had a phone call from someone claiming to be your bank or utility company, or even the police. If you give the information they ask for, you might be letting them into anything from your bank account to your computer’s data. You have the perfect right to refuse and call a genuine number for the organisation to check.
10. Monitor Your Accounts
An invasion of your accounts may start slowly, allowing the cyber criminals to get their claws into you. Monitor all your accounts regularly for any unusual activity that could be criminal activity. You may still have time to do something about it.
Cyber Security Tips Conclusion
I hope you have found our cyber security tips useful. There’s no substitute for improving your cyber security — both by installing and maintaining powerful systems and by training your workforce to use their devices intelligently and vigilantly. You’re very welcome to get in touch with us if you want to know more about staying safe online.