‘Tis the season for peak volumes of online shopping, promotional emails, and year end project deadlines. It’s also peak time for viruses, data breaches, and phishing scams. November 30 is National Computer Security Day. You can celebrate by checking on your company cybersecurity policies and procedures. The following are six ways your business and your employees can stay alert and protected throughout the holidays.
1. Avoid saving passwords on browsers.
Instead, use a password vault for best security. PC magazine recently updated their list of The Best Password Managers for 2022. Another protection is to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible. If MFA is not possible, make passwords complex and change them regularly.
2. Pay for antivirus software.
Antivirus software is designed to be installed on an individual computer and regularly perform tasks to prevent, detect, and remove malicious activity. There are free options out there, but trust us – you get what you pay for. PC magazine tested, rated, and reviewed over 40 antivirus products and published a list, The Best Antivirus Software for 2022.
3. Update operating systems and applications regularly.
Employees should regularly shut down their computers so automatic updates can run. They should also follow desktop prompts for updates to applications and the operating system. Encourage employees to reach out to IT when their computer is running slower than normal or if they have any questions about updates.
4. Assume all web links and email attachments from unfamiliar senders are malicious – until proven otherwise.
Employees may be used to the fake FedEx tracking link, or the email attachment from the network scanner, but bots and cyber criminals are only getting smarter. Share tips with employees on ways they can inspect a suspicious email – such as checking the sender’s email address – without clicking links or triggering a download. When in doubt, ignore it – if it is important enough the person will reach out again.
5. Back up your data.
When it comes to backup backup solutions, many small to mid-sized businesses are still relying on “old school” methods of data backup – storing backup data in their office and relying on a single backup method. Take action by following the three “R’s” of data backup to ensure you don’t lose access to company data now or long into the future: Reliability, Redundancy, and Recovery.
6. Review established policies with staff regularly to confirm they are being followed.
Most data breaches are due to human error – not protecting passwords properly, being tricked by an email, and more. According to Security Today, a 2020 joint study by Stanford University Professor Jeff Hancock and security firm Tessian, 88% of data breach incidents are caused by employee mistakes. Similar research by IBM puts the number at 95%.
Data breaches vary in their impact on a business – unfortunately the spectrum ranges from disruptive to devastating. Take time now to gauge your computer security policies and practices before everyone is too busy to be as mindful as they normally would be.
For further detail on these best practices, more in-depth information how to stay protected, or, if you are concerned you may be at risk for a data breach, contact us for a FREE network discovery. This complimentary on-site evaluation will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your IT infrastructure.
No matter where you are in your cybersecurity journey, contact Ontech at 262-522-8560 for guidance on all aspects of cybersecurity. From data backup to email security, our dedicated team of technicians can help you stay up to date as technology evolves so you can get the most from your investment.