Protecting our physical assets is a natural routine, and part of our everyday existence. Before we leave our homes, we close and lock our windows, stow away important items, and lock doors on our way out. We go to great lengths to ensure all our belongings stay secured from intruders. That protective mindset is instilled in our behavior. However, when it comes to keeping confidential information on our computers secure, many of us leave valuable information vulnerable and exposed. And we might not even be aware we’re doing it.
Being cyber-aware in our forever evolving digital world is vital. Our lives revolve around the internet. Access to an online connection is necessary so we can participate in everyday activities like sending emails, watching Netflix, shopping, banking and even ordering prescriptions, all of which require the exchange of sensitive information. Communicating and relaying sensitive information is a big responsibility, and it is our part as consumers to know how to stay protected.
So, what practices and habits can help us keep our digital assets safe and secure? Here are steps you can take to protect yourself, your home, and your remote workplace from those everyday threats to your cybersecurity.
Use caution when connecting to free WiFi
Free in this case, is not always a good thing. Connecting to WiFi at the coffee shop, airport or library always requires caution. Do not save passwords on the browser. Don’t enter or exchange important information while using an unsecure internet connection. Most free WiFi is unsecured. Information you enter on an unsecured, unencrypted network can be seen by hackers or anyone else capable of connecting to the network.
Secure your home WiFi network
Make sure you have a strong password or passphrase that is written down and stowed away in a safe place. Only the residents of the home should have immediate access to use the internet. It’s best practice to have a guest network established if you have guests that need to access your home WiFi network. From a guest network, people can access the internet, but are unable to access any network resources, shared folders, or important files that might contain sensitive information.
Change passwords frequently
Change is good when it comes to your passwords. Updating your passwords frequently (about every year) helps keep your information secure for a longer time. If you habitually update your passwords over time, you are less susceptible to attack and having your information compromised.
Know what a phishing attempt looks like
There’s a big difference between spam and phishing. Spam is unsolicited mass email and is annoying, but usually harmless. Phishing is an attempt to gain personal information used to carry out fraud or a cyber-attack. A phishing message can contain dangerous links or incite you to share personal action or information. Even if they seem to come from a company or person you know, scan unexpected messages for poor grammar, suspicious links, or requests. If you have any doubt, do not interact with the message.
These are the basics of cybersecurity at home, but, increasingly, the lines between home and work are blurred. Remote work has become the norm. It is important that businesses remain diligent around the best practices of sharing information and working in a hybrid setting. And that you, as the employee, are taking the necessary steps to secure your work-from-home set-up and the items you are sharing online, just as you would if you were securing your home.
When working to create safe environments at home and in the workplace, our Director of IT, Jason Sajdak, says, “It’s important to recognize attacks before they occur. Businesses need to have a consistent policy around security awareness, and perform training on a regular basis, so employees have the ability to recognize and reduce attacks."
As an employer and digital partner to organizations with large and sensitive data repositories, Acumium brings data security and cyber awareness into everything we do. Dan Costello, Acumium’s Founder and CEO, explains "when it comes to data security, we intelligently design what we have control over and are responsible for on behalf of our employees and clients. We make sure everybody is educated and aware of the information that falls into the realm of what we care for and protect, and what the implications might be if we didn't provide a robust level of security for that information."
Acumium has the team and resources to provide support and protection for your software applications. Our innovative team stays up to date on the latest trends and changes, so we can bring added levels of security and reliability to your business. Interested in learning about how we can bring an added layer of cybersecurity to your digital efforts? We’ve got significant experience in data security and would love to help. Contact us today.