It’s true to say that business leaders are more concerned about cyber security and data protection than ever before. One of the greatest threats that organisations face; cyber breaches have a detrimental impact on a company’s operations, finances, reputation and trust.
Despite the fact that, according to UK government research*, “just under half (46 percent) of all UK businesses identified at least one cyber-security breach or attack in the last 12 months”, there are still too many organisations working on IT systems that are outdated and vulnerable to attack.
We should never be complacent or say "It won't happen to me" - we are all at risk.
So here are Red Maple’s top tips on keeping those attacks at bay.
- Educate your staff – The first important step to take is to educate key members of your organisation and the board about the importance of cyber security identifying all the risks associated with it.
- Avoid Phishing scams - beware of suspicious emails and phone calls. they are a constant threat and use various ploys where cyber criminals will attempt to trick you into divulging personal information such as your login ID and password, banking or credit card information.
- Be careful what you click - Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrusted sources.
- Keep software up to date - Installing the right software and latest security updates for your operating systems and programs is critical. Our RedAssist service will manage all this for you.
- Backup your data – Regularly test the recovery process and back up your data. Be aware of the last time this activity happened and take action more frequently.
- Never leave devices unattended - If you need to leave your laptop, phone, or tablet for any length of time – shut it down or lock it up so no one else can use it. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to keep these locked as well.
- Use mobile devices safely - Considering how much we rely on our mobile devices and how susceptible they are to attack, you'll want to make sure you protect sensitive data:
- Lock your device with a PIN or password and never leave it unprotected in public.
- Only install apps from trusted sources.
- Keep your device's operating system updated.
- Don't click on links or attachments from unsolicited emails or texts.
- Avoid transmitting or storing personal information on the device.
- Most handheld devices and laptop operating systems are capable of employing data encryption - consult your device's documentation for available options.
- Practice good password management - We all have far too many passwords to manage. With that, it's easy to take short-cuts, like reusing the same password.
- Use long passwords - 20 characters or more is recommended - or a password manager
- Use a strong mix of characters, and never use the same password for multiple sites.
- Change them regularly
- Don’t share them.
Here are some additional tips to help keep you safe and secure online:
- Use a firewall - Mac and Windows have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating system that can help protect your computer from external attacks.
- Use public wireless hot-spots wisely – consider using a VPN when in public locations
- Be conscientious of what you plug into your computer (flash drives and even smart phones can contain malware).
- Be careful of what you share on social networking sites.
- Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
- Bank or shop online only on trusted devices and networks - and logout of these sites when you've completed your transactions.
Work with a reputable IT provider offering security as standard. All our clients at Red Maple benefit from regular risk assessments enabling us to offer tailored security software solutions for the individual needs of those businesses.