Issue No. 52Nov 2016

A Few Practical IT Security Tips That Your Employees Should Know

With the recent DDOS and Ransomware attacks on businesses featured in the news, IT security has been top of mind for many business owners.

In keeping your business safe from cyber threats, it’s important to adopt a multilayered approach that encompasses both the technology you use and your most important asset – your people.

Human fallibility and lack of security awareness are two of the most common causes of cyber security breaches in the workplace. In fact, research shows that nearly 4 out of 10 office security breaches were caused internally.

To fully address cyber security issues, experts recommend continued employee training and assessment. It’s also a good idea to invest in tools that allow you to monitor and detect unsafe practices that make your digital assets and confidential business information vulnerable to hacking and theft.

For some people, keeping their personal information secure online can sometimes be a confusing task, which is why they neglect to do it. For businesses, however, data security is an aspect of business that can’t be neglected, since even a single breach could translate into costly liability and financial losses.

Let’s look at a few basic security tips that you can share with your employees to keep their information and your business safer.

  • Lock your phone with a PIN, password or pattern – It’s a security feature that’s baked into every phone, but you’d be surprised by how many people leave their phones unprotected, making it easy for anyone to steal sensitive information. Remember, your phone contains your emails, photos, text messages, contacts and documents. It’s critical that you keep them secure at all times.
  • Change your passwords every 90 days Yes, it’s cumbersome, but you need to change your passwords regularly to keep your accounts safe. And, remember, no cheating. Yes, that means you can’t reuse passwords. Each of your accounts must have a distinct password that contains at least 8 characters, a capital letter, a number and a symbol that you can find on your keyboard.
  • Keep your software patched and updated Software companies don’t send out patches and updates just to annoy you. Software updates and patches are actually very important, since they contain fixes for bugs that leave your computer or your smartphone vulnerable to hacking. In some instances, software updates add new features to your computer or mobile device to help you become more productive and secure while online.
  • Don’t fall for fake popups and links Cyber criminals are now using sophisticated methods in trying to get you to click on malicious links or download malware. Examples of these popups that appear when browsing online include a prompt to download fake antivirus software, or fake download links to popular movies, music albums and software.
  • Be wary of fake emails – As a general rule, you should never click on links or download attachments on emails unless you are absolutely sure that they are safe. Phishing emails have become more advanced and convincing, and it’s easy to get fooled by them. Some examples of fake emails include USPS package notifications, PayPal receipts, activation emails, social media notifications and bank notices.  When in question, before opening the email, phone the sender, to see if the email is legitimate.