Cyber security is the proactive protection of your data, network and services from the theft and attacks of hackers. Many people do not realize the importance of cyber security and how often cyber trolls are able to access private information. There are many different types of cyber-attacks to be aware of and prevent.
If you have ever received a suspicious email luring you to click an unknown link, listened to an automated phone call asking you to give private information or had false advertisements that expose your server to viruses, you have most likely been a target for cyber-attacks. Types of threats include: Phishing, Ransomware, Malware and social engineering.
It is more important than ever to protect your home networks during the COVID-19 pandemic, as statistics show a spike in cyber hacking. Every web user is exposed to some form of digital attacks, but cyber security is the key to protecting your network and data.
Improve Your Password Game
This goes a long way in the cyber world. When creating a password, do not take the easy way out just because it will be simpler for you to remember. Some of our suggestions include:
- Creatively think of a phrase or group of words unique to you. Adding special characters and numbers will strengthen and randomize the password. Refrain from using personal information such as a birthday, address or phone number.
- Although it may seem difficult, try to create different passwords for each of your accounts. If one of your accounts gets manipulated, you will not want to see all of your accounts with the same password go down.
- Stay away from using password hints or suggested passwords that websites give to you; These may seem convenient at the time, but they are also more easily found and manipulated by cyber attackers.
- Think about using a secure password manager. Do some research and choose a trusted manager that will help you come up with randomized passwords and store them safely .
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, whenever possible use multi-factor authentication for your accounts. This is often done via a separate application that is on your mobile device that contains a one time code to prove your identity. If your password is compromised, the cyber criminal will likely not have your personal device to successful access your account.
Back Up Your Data Frequently
There are several important elements involved in a backup: The type of backup, amount of information backed up and the backup target (where it is stored).
- File: Originally the more traditional backup, this type moves physical or digital files and databases to another location during backup.
- Bare metal: This is used to back up the entire system’s data, including the operating system itself, from one platform to another.
- Snapshot: Also referred to as image backup, this technique creates a copy of an application, disk or system to define where and how the data was stored at the time of the snapshot.
Amount of Information Backed Up
The amount of data you have and store on your servers can creep up on you. Here are four common ways to identify the amount of data you need to backup so that data loss does not become detrimental to you:
- Full: The name pretty much speaks for itself. Every folder, file and piece of information in your system is fully backed up
- Incremental: This type of backup is quicker and only requires the initial backup to be full. The ones preceding it will back up the recent changes made since the last.
- Differential: Similar to incremental, the very first backup is full. This type of backup requires more storage but allows for faster restore time.
- Mirror: This type of backup will make a “mirror” copy of your stored data, but it will not backup files that are obsolete or prior deleted.
A secure type of back up for data we suggest is off-site and via the cloud.
Storing your data off-site and through the cloud has proved itself to be safer than backups on-site. On-site backups include hard drives, DVDs, tapes and USBs, which we do not recommend. These types of backups hold a constant risk of data destruction, theft or misplacement.
Instead, back up through the cloud is the more ideal solution. With a secure WIFI connection, the cloud’s data centers have access to thousands of servers using encryption to protect your data. There are notable advantages to using these off-site backups. A big advantage is being able to share and access your data from any location with internet connection. Another is that your data will be preserved and secured if anything physically happened.
Overall, the best way to store your data in a convenient and secure way is through the cloud. By mixing built-in application security and careful monitoring, your business can focus on its goals without constantly worrying about security breach.
Securing Your Applications
Security is similar to an amusement park; every so often the rides need to be checked on to make sure they are running safely and smoothly. Malware constantly searches for new ways to break the system. This is why security protocols must be routinely maintained, similar to a rollercoaster. Here are a few ways that can help you stay secure:
- Patching: Many OS systems will release “patches” that search for and fix flaws that may have formed in your system. This method is important and useful because it allows for small errors to be fixed before they become detrimental.
- Updating Software: Similar to patches, software updates find and remove bugs from your system. They also revise your system by adding new features to remove old ones that might be susceptible to hackers.
- Creating a Restore Point: A restore point is a snapshot of your system configuration at any given time. In creating one, the system can revert back to the saved point where the system was running with no issues.
There are many ways to routinely check that your network is safe. A few tips we suggest are performing phishing security tests, performing breached password tests and protecting against social engineering.
Phishing security tests, aka PSTs, determine how vulnerable your network is within your organization. It works like this: An email, specifically designed to lure you to click an unknown link, is sent to all employees. If a user clicks the link, it directs them to a page explaining the test and then trains them on how to prevent falling for real phishing.
A breached password test similarly searches for vulnerability in your active directory. It first checks if any user email addresses/passwords in your domain have ever been involved in breaches. From there, it looks to identify if any of your current account passwords were found in the first step. If routinely done, this test reduces risk of breach.
There are a few ways to prevent from social engineering. First, be cautious of the information you’re putting on the internet. Whatever is out there can be used to someone else’s advantage. Also, make sure what you’re clicking on or interacting with is legitimate - don’t just open an email or click a link before knowing what it is. Lastly, refrain from giving personal information to solicitors. Using these methods will help to further defend against cyber disasters.
It is no secret that improving your cyber security is an essential part of building a successful and protected business. If you find that your company is in need of an MSP, allow our white-glove senior consultants to help. Get in touch with us here.