Cyber security is a hot topic nowadays–and with good reason.
With so much going on in the world and so many opportunities to connect with others through technology, corporations are getting hacked left and right.
Your company could be next.
In order to keep your sensitive information safe, you need to start thinking proactively about cyber security.
With October being Cyber Security Awareness month, we wanted to share these 10 tips to help you better protect your business.
1. Enable 2-factor authentication on all of your accounts
As annoying and time-consuming as 2-factor authentication can be, it’s an extremely necessary extra layer of security to add to your accounts.
If you’re unfamiliar with this method, it’s basically a feature that requires a second form of identification (in addition to your password) in order for you to log into an account. This security feature helps prevent hackers from logging into your accounts even if they do obtain one of your passwords.
2-factor identification is often a code that’s either emailed or texted to you. For example, if someone tries logging into your Google Account with your correct email and password, they won’t actually be able to access your account without the 2-factor identification code that you’ll receive.
If you receive a random code without trying to log in to your account, this is a good way to tell that someone is trying to hack into your account.
2. Use a password manager/generator like Dashlane
There are so many accounts we need to keep track of as business owners, and it can be difficult to come up with unique, strong passwords and remember them all.
Using a password manager like Dashlane is one of the easiest, most effective ways to tackle this problem.
Dashlane stores your login information in a digital vault that is encrypted, which keeps your personal data safe from hackers. It will also suggest strong passwords for you that are unique as well as store any personal data like credit card information. Dashlane even fills in your passwords for you, so you don’t have to remember them.
This is a great way to securely keep track of all your company’s login credentials without the risk of forgetting (and potentially losing) any important account information or having it compromised by hackers.
We suggest that you NEVER store this information in an Excel spreadsheet or Word document. If anyone were to hack into your computer, they would have access to these documents in a breeze. With Dashlane, they’ll have a much harder time hacking into your passwords.
3. Update your antivirus protection
Update. Your. Antivirus. Protection. We can’t stress this enough!
You should always have the latest version of any antivirus software installed on all office and personal computers. Many hackers use old viruses to gain access into company accounts, so it’s important that you’re always one step ahead by updating your protection regularly.
Antivirus programs also alert you whenever you receive an email from an unfamiliar sender. This is another great way to protect your business by keeping track of the latest threats and avoiding suspicious emails that may be sent out by hackers trying to infiltrate your system.
4. Encrypt everything
Make sure every laptop and mobile device in your office is encrypted. Even if you don’t store company data on laptops, not having an encryption password can leave all of the personal information stored in it open and accessible–so protecting every computer and mobile device with strong passwords is important for everyone at your company.
Although this may seem like a lot of work, your company’s cyber security will drastically improve if every device in the office is encrypted.
5. Back up your data
Backups are an integral part of protecting your company’s digital information.
You should have a backup for every device in the office. We also recommend having a copy stored offsite so that if your office were ever to suffer physical damage, like a fire or flood, all of your important files will still be safe.
We also recommend that you back up your data at least once a week. If something were to happen and all of your files got lost or deleted, it would be much easier for you to recover them from the cloud than trying to remember and recreate everything on your own.
Taking these steps will ensure that no matter what happens to your company, you will still have access to all of your business information and can continue operating without a problem.
6. Monitor computer and email activity
Regularly monitoring all of the activity on each computer, tablet, and smartphone in your office will enable you to spot any suspicious behavior and stop them before they can cause any damage.
This is also another great way to make sure everyone in the office knows how to spot phishing scams and suspicious emails.
Once you start taking these precautions, your company will be miles ahead of any competitors when it comes to cyber security–and that’s a huge advantage no one should overlook.
7. Use a Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides an added layer of security when you’re using public Wi-Fi. Without one, hackers can easily spy on your activity and intercept any private information that’s transferred over an open network.
VPNs prevent hackers from being able to access sensitive company files or data, protecting both the business and you as a company representative.
They also give your employees the ability to work from home or on business trips without having to worry about losing any data.
Make sure everyone at your company downloads a VPN before they connect to public Wi-Fi, and that they’re using it with all of their company devices. This will keep you safe and prevent your business from losing any data or information down the road.
8. Install security software
This should go without saying, but make sure you have all of the necessary cyber security tools installed on every device in the office.
A quality anti-virus program is a must when it comes to protecting yourself online, so choose one that will also protect your business and employees.
This is the best defense against hackers and cyber criminals. It’s important to invest in a software that will give you peace of mind while providing 360 protection for every device your business owns.
We recommend AVG AntiVirus FREE Edition because not only does it provide top security features–it also scans for malware, viruses, and other security threats that your business could be vulnerable to–for free.
9. Use secure passwords
You really need to be vigilant about protecting every device in your office. This means making sure you have strong passwords on all computers, tablets, and smartphones–especially company-issued ones that contain sensitive data like customer information or personal employee files.
Don’t make your passwords easy to guess or figure out by anyone who knows anything about you–such as family names, birthdays, or other personal information.
Never use the same password for more than one account–even though it can be tempting to reuse passwords so that you don’t have to remember hundreds of different ones.
Make sure your passwords are at least 12 characters long and contain both numbers, letters (upper and lower case), and special characters.
Finally, ensure that your employees understand the importance of this and create strong passwords (or have Dashlane generate them) for all of their accounts as well.
10. Keep all software up to date (not just antivirus)
Hackers are always coming up with new ways to infiltrate your devices, and the only way you can stop them is by keeping up with their latest techniques.
The best way to stay one step ahead of hackers is by keeping your software updated. This includes everything from your operating system to any programs that run on it.
Another important thing to remember is that when companies stop supporting older products–it usually means hackers will start looking for ways into your systems to exploit these vulnerabilities.