Cyber Security: 7 Best Practices to Follow Without a Specialist

7 cyber security best practices
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One of the biggest threats to businesses with a digital presence is that of cyber attacks. Can’t hire a cyber security specialist quite yet? Consider applying our 7 easy to follow cyber security best practices in your day-to-day

 

 In a digital economy, one of the most pervasive threats to modern enterprises comes in the form of cyber attacks. Any company that does business online will be exposed to malicious attacks. In fact, around 58 data records are stolen every day at an average cost of $141 per record. Many larger organizations will have a Chief Security Officer to manage safeguard against threats, but there are large number that don’t.

If your company doesn’t have a cyber security expert on hand, then following industry best practices is the next best thing. In this article we break down the cyber security practices you should be implementing in order to protect your data. Sticking to the fundamentals ensures that next time there’s a cyber attack, you’re adequately protected.

 

  1. Install Updates

 

When implementing a cyber security policy, one of your foremost concerns should be the installation of updates on a regular basis. Updating your software makes sure that all known vulnerabilities are patched. Failure to update your computer regularly leaves you open to active threats.

One of the most famous cyber attacks (the WannaCry attack), used a patched vulnerability to access the data of machines that weren’t updated. Updating your computer regularly can prevent a cyber attack, and avoid the problem downtime and unnecessary costs. All staff should be encouraged to keep their computers regularly updated. This can be done manually or by clicking a box to update automatically.

 

  1. Guard All Personal Information

 

As a basic rule, you should take extra care to avoid handing out personal details. This means never sharing any personal information through emails, text or phone calls. Whilst exchanging some information will be necessary to run daily operations, be wary of malicious entities and phishers who are trying to gather information.

Part of your strategy should also be to remain vigilant against suspicious calls. If you receive a mysterious phone call where the caller is requesting information, contact your IT department. Paying attention to what data you share can be critical to stop you falling victim to a cyber attack.

 

  1. Be Careful When Clicking on Links and Attachments in Emails

 

When it comes to emails, you should be very careful about clicking on any links or attachments in your messages. Most of the links you receive are legitimate, but a significant minority will be looking to harm your computer. Phishers commonly target employee emails and rely on complacency to transmit malicious software.

If you have doubts about whether an email you’ve received is legitimate, contact your IT department. As an extra tip, be very cautious with ZIP folders as these can harbor dangerous files (though its important to note they can be used for harmless everyday documents as well).

 

  1. Use Strong Unique Passwords

 

At some point or another, everyone has received the memo on the importance of choosing a strong password. Creating a unique password is important for ensuring that your systems can’t be breached by outside interference. As standard practice, you should be using a mixture of lower case, upper case letters, numbers and symbols.

At times, it can be challenging to remember a unique password for a service you use infrequently, but this is essential. If you use the same password for a variety of different services, if one is breached, you’re vulnerable on all accounts. Choosing a strong, unique password is a simple way to avoid this predicament.

 

  1. Two-Factor Authentication

 

One of the best ways to secure your online accounts for services like Google and Twitter is to use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is where you use a password, which is linked to a mobile phone. If you ever need to verify your account or change your password, the service can message a unique code straight to your phone. This helps to make sure that no unwanted intruder can make changes to your account without your knowledge.

 

  1. Watch Your Online Behaviour

 

In the age of social media and online collaboration, you don’t just have to watch out for your internal systems, but your online behavior as well. Whether you want to protect intellectual property or avoid sharing sensitive information online, you need to review any public submissions you make online. Defining an Acceptable Electronic Use policy is the first step to making sure that there is a clear standard in place.

Take extra care to verify the safety of any data that’s available online. For example, if you’re using cloud storage check to make sure that it has SSAE 16, SAS 70 or SOC 2 security measures in operation. This way you can ensure that you can work online without leaving your data at risk.

 

  1. When in Doubt Call Your IT Department

 

When you’re in doubt about currently guidelines or concerned about a specific threat, you should contact your IT department. Prevention is better than a cure, and contacting IT before a cyber security issue develops is the best way to manage potential threats.

This relies on staff keeping clear stock of their machines and understanding when a problem is arising. Whether it’s using an unauthorized application or an unsecure cloud server, you should be able to use your IT department as a point of reference to help you out.

 

Stay Vigilant

 

Whether you belong to an SME or a multinational corporation, cyber attacks are a constant threat. However, if you take the time to develop and implement clearly defined cyber security procedures, you can help to minimize the damage done by successful attacks.

If you don’t have an in-house specialist to manage your network infrastructure and keep your data secure, then sticking to the fundamentals of cyber security is your next best option. By remaining vigilant and careful about what data you share, you’ll be able to avoid most cyber attacks.

Businesses dealing with a lot of confidential personal information of both staff and clients should be especially diligent when it comes to matters of cyber security. If this is you, consider hiring a specialist. Browse our database of IT professionals for cyber security specialists.

 

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