Here’s how you can make cyber security a priority every day

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and with cybercriminals stealing trillions of dollars annually from companies and individuals worldwide, by all rights, we should really think about cyber security every day.  As we become increasingly dependent on internet-connected devices in our daily lives, it’s essential that we stay up-to-date on security risks and threats to our tech at home and at our businesses.

Having a national awareness month is a great start; it serves as a reminder that we must not let down our guard.  So how can we take this important reminder seriously? Whether you are a small to medium-sized business owner, or just hoping to up your security game at home, here are a few great ways you and your employees can mark National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

 

Here’s how to improve cyber security for the long haul

  1. Educate your employees.

    Call in cyber security experts to conduct training for staff.  While your employees are your greatest resource, they are also your greatest IT security risk.  Over 90% of breaches continue to involve employee behavior. Schedule a training to help your employees become a more effective first line of defense.

     

  2. Proactively assess your cyber security capabilities.

    With the help of an organization like Locknet Managed IT – An EO Johnson Company, you can put together a long-range plan for improving cyber security for your business.  Hackers are opportunists who are always on the lookout for a portal into your network.  And you may be surprised how many of your devices are putting you at risk.  We can help identify vulnerabilities, develop policies and problem-solve in a way that supports your strategic plan, BEFORE you have an issue.

     

  3. Conduct a thorough scan for viruses and malware on a regular basis.

    Run your antivirus program with the latest definition updates —whether it’s a home device or an office computer (you should work in tandem with your IT team if you have one).  Do a complete scan on all drives whether they are internal or external.  The more you familiarize yourself with Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware tools and what they do for you, the safer your data and devices will be for the long haul.

     

  4. Change your passwords.

    We all know we should be changing our passwords regularly, but not all of us actually do it.  And worse, some of us are not following best practices for our password protection, putting us further at risk.  So, take some time this month to change your passwords.  Remember to choose passwords that are sufficiently complex and long.  And if you don’t know how, check out our recent blog post on best practices for password selection. 

     

  5. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

    We encourage you to also consider putting multi-factor authentication in place. Despite cyber-attacks becoming more prevalent, businesses often over-look the easiest point of entry….. the front door.  Although you may have all of the proactive security controls in place to protect your network, they can be nullified by one valid set of credentials falling into the wrong hands.  That’s why more and more businesses are electing to use MFA to protect from hackers who may have stolen your password database or used basic attacks such as phishing campaigns to obtain them.  MFA provides a second layer of security to the authentication process after a username and password are entered to verify an identity.  With MFA you’ll have a vital barrier that makes it harder for attackers and you’ll have the confidence that they unable to gain entry by logging in with a stolen set of credentials.


  6. Run your updates.

    Most malware uses well-know, and already addressed, software vulnerabilities.  Software that hasn’t been updated, or patched, remains vulnerable to those vulnerabilities and puts you at risk for hacking.  Yet, it’s all too easy to click that “remind me later” button.  To learn more, check out our recent article on the vital importance of patching.


  7. Practice good cyber hygiene.

    It may be a new term for you, but cyber hygiene is all about caring for your digital profile and protecting your data.  Most of us don’t give much thought to how we interact online, but every post, like, share and click creates a digital profile of us that cybercriminals are eager to capture.  Be diligent to protect yourself.  Check your safety and security settings on all of your online profiles, including social media and refer to them regularly for changes or different setting.  Opt out of default settings that put your information at risk, and be aware that what you post online can put you at risk.  Remember, if it can be seen online by the public, it can be seen by a hacker.

 

How did National Cyber Security Awareness Month start?

Cyber security gained importance in 2004 as it became increasingly clear that the public would benefit from knowing how to protect their technology and data.  Cyber security awareness month was established to empower people to take advantage of the many tools and tips out there that can ensure the long-term security of their devices.  It’s a collective effort between officials from government, academia and business to protect our nation from cyber threats.  It’s their goal to enable all of us with the latest best practices so that we can make the most of today’s technology in a safer and more secure way.

 

Learn more about cyber security awareness

If National Cyber Security Awareness Month inspires you to learn more about how you can protect your business from hackers, contact the cyber security experts at Locknet Managed IT - An EO Johnson Company.