Since 2004 the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security and the non-profit National Cyber Security Alliance have sponsored National Cyber Security Awareness month every October as a way to remind all of us – both individuals and businesses – to be wary of cyber risks and to always follow Cyber Security best practices. While cyber security is critical to keep in mind year round, the month of October offers an opportunity to re-think your online security strategies. In observance of this, we have put together a three-part series, comprised of lists of helpful tips so you can make sure your cyber security is up-to-date.
Part I: Basic Cyber Security 101
- None of us are immune to the threats. When you think of data breaches, you probably think of the national news coverage of major enterprises like Sony, or Target, or Anthem but in reality, SMBs are targeted just as often by cyber criminals as the big enterprises. In 2014, about 60 percent of all U.S. cyber-attacks were aimed at SMBs, according to the Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec.
- Protect yourself from social engineering and phishing attacks. For the most part, you can do this just by using your good judgment. For starters, don’t open emails from unknown, untrusted sources. A good rule of thumb is if you see an email that looks like it’s from someone (or some company) with whom you are familiar but still seems suspicious, give them a call rather than responding via email. Check out these social engineering hacks.
- Set up an intrusion-prevention system and security software on all computers. At Kobargo, we recommend a combination of antivirus and content filtering software, firewalls, and spam filters for all our clients.
- Travelers beware! Whether it be for business or pleasure, whenever you are travelling be sure to guard yourself from cyber threats by protecting all the devices you take on the road. We make device security a no-brainer for our clients with our ‘Travelers Protection Plan’, (included as part of our IT Managed Service). In addition to peace-of-mind on the road, our ‘Travelers Protection’ includes backing up all files, removing sensitive documents and information from all your devices, ensuring passwords are in use and that antivirus software is updated.
- Schedule a recurring meeting on-site with your IT service provider or IT Manager so they can check to see if all safeguards are working properly.
- Don’t wait until something goes wrong. Be proactive by talking with your IT Managed Service provider or in-house IT now about ways you and your employees or co-workers can protect themselves against cyber threats.