We all like to think that bad things won’t happen to us. When working on projects and going through the day-to-day hustle of our lives it’s all too easy to cut corners and say “that won’t happen to me”. But cyber security is a what if question that you absolutely need an answer to. What if all those payment documents including sensitive client information are compromised? What if that big presentation you are giving tomorrow is accidentally deleted? What if all of your employee’s workstations are afflicted with a virus? How will you protect not only yourself, but your employees and your clients from a cybernetic disaster? In 2014 Kapersky, an antivirus and cyber security company reported an immense 6,167,233,068 PC threats and 3,693,936 Mac threats alone! With the growing influence of the internet and the digital era in full swing, it is imperative to follow these guidelines to protect your business and yourself against online attacks.
This one is a no brainer. What is the best way to protect against a virus?
Install an antivirus.
Antivirus software is a program you can download to your computer that will regularly scan your system for suspicious and malicious content. This could include infected program files, unwanted downloads, unwanted programs, as well as general clutter that bogs down your system. Not only that, but they have come a long way from where they were 10 years ago.
Now, you can even get live action protection while browsing the internet to keep your computer safe! Antivirus software like AVG, Norton, KSP, and so many more are your bodyguards against malicious content. If you don’t have antivirus software, you’re putting yourself in serious danger of getting a virus that can compromise sensitive data stored on your computer which may include banking information or even your current location! Make sure all of your devices have some sort of virus protection on them.
Establish Passwords and Policies
This is especially important for businesses. Passwords are the lock and key to anything digital. Anything with poor password protection is just begging a hacker to launch a virus and steal it. To make a strong password, try to avoid using full words and add variety to the characters with symbols, capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and length.
I always recommend at least 8 characters and 1 symbol, capital letter, lowercase letter, and number. You should also change your passwords regularly and when personnel change. Changing your passwords keeps the hackers guessing and insures that you have an up-to-date security system in place to protect your files. Finally, the golden rule of passwords, NEVER share a personal password with ANYONE.
Sometimes it doesn’t take a virus to damage important information. Sometimes all it takes is one wrong click and you can delete important documents that can never be replaced. Saving documents frequently and having back-ups insures that these slip ups don’t turn a small inconvenience into a very big problem. Many services like Carbonite exist that offer to protect your information often at a yearly rate. This is usually the best route for businesses. As for backing up personal computers and single workstations, an external device like a flash drive can be used to back up projects as you work on them in case they get deleted or corrupted.
Be Mindful and Aware
Finally, one of the best practices you can have to protect yourself against cybernetic threats is to remain up-to-date and aware of current cyber risks and how to identify them. One of the largest mediums of these attacks are spam emails. Knowing how to validate email addresses and catch spelling and grammatical errors can be a huge tool in saving yourself from a virus. In addition, do not give any of your information to an untrusted source.
These tips are the locks on the doors and windows to your digital information. If you do not have solid systems and procedures in place to prevent and respond to a cybernetic attack, then do not wait to act. Some viruses can sneak in and transmit data without you even having a clue that it is there. By the time you have noticed, the damage could already be done. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
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