Are you relying on luck to provide you with protection from cyber-crime and internet threats? Here are a few online security tips for businesses that you can put in place now. Before your luck runs out.
Cyber security tip #1: Set up two-factor authentication on all of your online accounts and devices
Just about any online account you have could possibly be hacked. Enabling two-factor authentication on your laptop, phone and email account is a simple way to add an extra level of security, beyond the standard username and password. Two-factor authentication makes sure that anyone trying to access an online account is who they say they are. Once you are set up, this is how it works:
- First, you’ll be asked to enter your username and a password.
- Then, instead of immediately gaining access to an account or device, you’ll be asked to provide another piece of information to verify your login attempt. This could be a PIN, a fingerprint, an iris scan or an answer to a secret question. Or sometimes, you will need to click on a link that is emailed or texted to you.
The theory is, if your device is stolen or a password is compromised, the chances of someone else having your second-factor information is very doubtful.
Cyber security tip #2: Use a password manager like LastPass
We all know what we should do when it comes to passwords – make them unique for every account or website, lengthy, a mixture of letters, characters and numerals, with a baffling array of capitals and lowercase thrown in for good measure. Basically, what you end up with is nothing that resembles an actual word that you have any chance of memorising. So, inevitably instead of following protocol, we use the same weak password over and over again. It’s probably the one on the post-it note above your desk.
This is where services like LastPass can help. As a password manager, it stores your login information for all the websites you use. This means when you come to log in to a site or service, it will populate the fields automatically for you. Your password database is encrypted with a master password, which is then the only one you will have to commit to memory.
Cyber security tip #3: Connect to a VPN when away from a secure home or office network
Think about the times where you send an email while you’re in a queue at your morning coffee spot. Or the time when you access your online bank account while you’re on a platform waiting for a train. If you’re relying on an unsecure public Wi-Fi network for your connection, beware cyber-savvy strangers could be eavesdropping.
A Virtual Private network (or VPN) helps protect your online activities by hiding all of your personal information when you access the internet using a public Wi-Fi connection. This means you can send emails, shop online, browse social media and access your bank accounts without fear of anyone peering in on your personal details.
Cyber security tip #4: Regularly update anti-virus and anti-malware software
Software is constantly evolving to patch and fix any weaknesses as they arise. However, these repairs can’t work if they aren’t applied. To maximise your protection from cyber-attacks, it’s essential your anti-virus and anti-malware software is current.
Cyber security tip #5: Change the default password on your home wireless network
Did you know a quick Google search can identify the default password for your router? This can allow a cyber-criminal to maliciously dial into your router from afar and snoop in on what you’re doing online. The router password is different to the Wi-Fi password you need to access the network. It’s a password that protects the router’s settings and configuration. This makes changing the password of your router an important way to safeguard your technology from hacking.
Cyber security tip #6: Shop safely online
The easiest way to ensure an online shopping spree is uneventful is to make sure the website you’re buying from is secure. Look out for the lock symbol and that all-important “https” in the address bar before tapping in your credit card details.
Do you think cybercrime won’t apply to you?
The media may focus on major data breaches for huge corporations, but behind the headlines a large number of businesses being hacked are small. One reason for this is because small businesses are generally under-protected or don’t realise they need to be doing anything to safeguard their technology. Do any of the following sound familiar?
- Do you have a website? Maybe even an online store where you collect payments?
- How much personal information do you store digitally on your clients, prospects, suppliers and collaborators?
- Think about how many documents you download or forms you submit online?
- Then there are your bank accounts and bills that you manage online? And the cloud-based systems you invested in to make life simpler?
- How many emails do you send and receive every single day?
- And what about all of those social media posts and interactions?
If any of the above apply, you need to make sure you have measures in place to secure your technology.
If you would like to pick our brains, book a consultation to discuss how we could help you to implement the right security measures.