The global economy loses billions of dollars each year to cyberattacks. While the internet represents one of the most important technological advancements of modern times, it also has a darker side. Virtually every modern business maintains a digital presence and gathers information from many business processes. Data is arguably one of the most valuable digital assets any business can possess. And where there is something valuable, you can be sure elements that want unauthorized access to it will emerge. And it is up to business managers and leaders to ensure the risk of a breach remains as low as possible.
Essential Cybersecurity Practices for Employees
Cybercriminals are always trying to find loopholes in business cybersecurity measures to get at the data. Employees are by far the single biggest source of data breaches, and educating them about key practices is essential for a working cybersecurity policy. In 2020, given the COVID-19 pandemic, most employees have been forced to work remotely. The deep penetration of residential services likeSpectrum Internet plans has played a huge role in making this possible. But the risks increase many times over with employees using their home or public networks. Luckily, by adhering to the following cybersecurity practices, businesses can still minimize the risk of a data breach or attack:
- Always Use A Secure and Encrypted Network
- Avoid Suspicious Links, Emails, and Pop-ups
- Always Opt For Firewall Protection
- Keep Device Security Software Updated
- Involve IT Professionals In Creating InfoSec Policies
Let’s examine these essential cybersecurity practices for employees below.
Always Use A Secure and Encrypted Network
Whether you’re working from home or at the office, the security strength of your network is extremely important. Criminals can often hack into an open or unencrypted network, and use it to eavesdrop on all connected devices. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are particularly risky. You never know who may be connected, and it isn’t very difficult for an experienced cybercriminal to even take control of your device. This is exactly why you should only use a secure and encrypted network for all work activity. Networks secured by a strong WPS key are much harder to get past. You can also choose to keep your network hidden so that the network isn’t visible to any potential criminals trying to connect wirelessly.
As an added precaution, you should consider using a VPN. Virtual proxy networks mask your device identity and create an encrypted virtual tunnel for data to travel to and from your device. Digital encryption is extremely difficult to crack, so this is about as safe as you can get on most networks.
Avoid Suspicious Links, Emails, and Pop-ups
We’re so used to Hollywood movies that the contrasting reality of things can often be jarring. Who hasn’t seen a “hacker” type furiously on a keyboard for a few minutes and then exclaim “I’m in the mainframe!”? I always find these hacking scenes funny, mostly because one of the most common means to breach security is phishing. Phishing is just what it sounds like. Hackers send out plausible looking emails, links, or pop-ups in bulk, hoping someone takes the bait. Once an employee clicks on any of these, hackers can do several harmful things. From installing malware like ransomware or botnets on your work devices to eavesdropping on competitive information to even destroying databases, the possibilities are endless and scary. The simple fix is to avoid any suspicious links and emails in the first place. You should also refrain from visiting sites with outdated security measures.
Always Opt For Firewall Protection
In the modern world, having firewall protection for your network is non-negotiable. The firewall acts as the first defense against hackers trying to gain access to your home or work network. Network firewalls act as filters that can block many forms of unauthorized access. Most firewalls can prevent suspicious users from accessing your business website or network. But they can also block spam from suspicious mailing services and even block employees from visiting websites that are inappropriate for work or could compromise your network.
Keep Device Security Software Updated
Digital threats are constantly evolving. Like the many-headed Hydra from Greek mythology, each time one threat is dealt with, a new one emerges. In such circumstances, not keeping your device security updated is a cardinal sin. Most devices use some form of security software like antivirus and antispam applications. However, these applications need to be constantly updated to be able to combat the newest cyber threats. A device with out-of-date security software is not just an open door, it is a red-carpet invitation to cybercriminals. Don’t put your device security (and that of your business/employer) at risk.
Involve IT Professionals In Creating InfoSec Policies
It’s always essential to encourage employees to be watchful and cautious in terms of digital security. But most businesses find they need a comprehensive policy governing how business data is secured. Also known as an information security policy or InfoSec policy, this is a detailed policy that covers major types of security risks and the protocols to be followed at all times to minimize the risk of a breach. These policies even focus on minute things like double-checking the sender address when you receive an email to call the Spectrum phone number. The policy should also describe processes that should be strictly followed to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to business data. While it is possible to come up with a rudimentary policy on your own with a little research, it is inadvisable. Instead, involve IT professionals and InfoSec experts to craft a policy that can reduce the risk of a data breach as much as possible.