We live in a world where, more than ever before, knowledge is power. Consequently, people look for information in a variety of ways, using a wide range of methods – and not all of them are above board. Perhaps one of the most invasive ways personal private information is obtained is via the Web.
There are those consumers who share too much information on social media and thus become easy targets for hackers. But for many victims of identity theft, hacked websites and other data breaches are the cause of private information landing in the wrong hands, through no fault of the victim.
Digital security is a must, but what exactly should it look like? After all, cybercriminals are typically looking for customer contact information such as emails, credit cards, valuable intellectual or proprietary information, or health data. With so many areas to protect, it can be difficult to know how to best protect yourself. It pays to be proactive.
Here are some measures from cyber-security experts that small to medium-size businesses (incidentally, one of the most recent targets for cyber theft) can implement.
- Install anti-malware software on all of your company’s computers. Malware programs are not foolproof, and viruses can still slip past them – so add detection tools that note suspicious activity and identify data that may be at risk. Have a plan to deal with a breach if it happens.
- Regularly run an audit on your network to promote and encourage resilient and updated information systems.
- Prohibit employees from using company computers for personal shopping, social media, and web browsing, as this can introduce security risk.
- Always lock your computer screen; to leave it unlocked is like leaving your credit card on your desk while you are out of your office.
- Have a policy on computer usage, inform your employees of the policy, and enforce it consistently. Employees need to know and understand the repercussions of violating security policies.
- Always require passwords and change them often – ideally, every 30 to 60 days.
- Use secure connections. Wi-Fi hotspots, cloud computing, and mobile device use can put you at a greater risk of a cyber breach. In website addresses, look for “https://” when transmitting sensitive data, as that verifies you have an encrypted connection.
By making these procedures part of your company’s standard operations, you can significantly minimize the risk of a security breach. The trouble you save in the long run will make them worth the effort. Start the holiday season and new year off right – review your digital security policies today!