There is no doubt that the explosion of online services, e-commerce, smartphones and super fast connections have opened up a world of opportunities for people and companies. With great power though, comes great responsibility. The threat of cyber-crime is rising at an alarming rate creating chaos for unprepared companies and major inconvenience for customers. This article explores some key things to look for to improve cyber safety and reducing the possibility of a cyber-attack on your business.
1. Keep software up to date
Use up to date virus software and anti-spyware software on your own computers.All of the above apply to all employees and company accounts. In addition, keep your website software and plugins up to date.
2. Protect your passwords and pins
Use strong passwords – use a variety of lowercase, uppercase, numbers, symbols and unfamiliar words. Creating your own system can also help you to remember complicated passwords. Protect your pin codes and credit cards. Keep them safe – a pin code should be easy for you to remember, so avoid writing this down where people could find it.
3. Understand your privacy settings
Studies have shown that as few as 7% of people read the small print. Website terms and conditions are lengthy and change frequently. It may be difficult for you to find time to do this, but you can invest time in understanding what information you post is public or accessible to which groups. Generally speaking, if things are private, then a website may not be the best place to store it.
4. Be wary of spam and phishing
Emails and phishing attacks – these could arrive by email or phone. Think before you click and Google things that looks suspicious. Social engineers are skilled at emailing, phoning or contacting you in order to capture your bank details and other sensitive email.
5. Practise “clear desk working”
Avoid important documents, passwords and other secure materials where they can be found and laptops and other devices open or unlocked.
6. Keep your website safe
If you are using website software such as WordPress, make sure you or your web developer keeps it up to date including updating plugins and themes. Choose software and hosting companies based on their reputation for security.
7. Be careful where you surf!
Using devices and networks that you trust is important and even more important when you are undertaking sensitive tasks such as online banking and credit card transactions.
8. Store your data safely
Well thought out and offsite backups are important in case the worst happens. If you are storing sensitive data, invest in the expertise required to make sure that system is secure. There have been several high profile examples where this was not the case and customer data was stolen.
9. Stay informed and up to date
We don’t all have time or resource to keep up with the latest developments and undertake training in cyber-security, but it may be beneficial if yourself or a member of your team is clued up. There is a free Introduction to Cyber security MOOC from Futurelearn for example.