Cybersecurity is an ever-important and ever-evolving conversation. As technology gets more advanced and integrated into our daily lives, hackers get more clever at finding ways to access your accounts to gain important personal and business-related information.
When we last discussed cybersecurity, we talked about a couple of the more common ways your information might be stolen, like phishing emails, USB drives inserted into a hotel’s computer in the business center that’s infected or opening an attachment from an unknown source.
I asked our Vice President of IT, Brian Prichard, for some handy tips and tricks on protecting yourself from these types of attacks.
1. Educate Your Team
It’s not just big businesses like the Colonial Pipeline getting attacked and their systems being held for ransom – small businesses are just as likely to get attacked by hackers as well. The best way to protect your business is through education. Ensure that your team members know not to click on any suspicious links, that they know who attachments are coming from, and to not download anything not authorized by your IT department. One way to make sure everyone in your organization stays vigilant is to implement quarterly training with your IT department or invite an expert to speak to your team each year.
2. Make Sure Your Software is Current
Make sure your software is up-to-date and current with the latest security patches. Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung continuously research and look into potential security risks within their software. They will then send out updates with “patches” or fixes for those risks. Keeping your computer up-to-date (yes, even when the popup happens at the most inopportune time) will make sure that your computer has the best protection.
3. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is an added layer of security to make sure that your account stays as safe as possible – and only those authorized to gain access can do so. We recently updated SAGE Mobile to include 2FA, and once you enter your email and password, you’ll receive a code delivered only to you by either email or text message to log in.
4. Have an Incident Response Plan in Place
Just like you have a plan in place for a fire or tornado at your business, it’s crucial to have an incident response plan in place in case you or a team member accidentally opens a suspicious link or downloads an attachment they shouldn’t have. Make sure that everyone in the office knows how to handle this situation so they don’t panic if that does happen. Have them shut down their computer immediately and call tech support – they will know the best way to deal with this sort of situation.
5. Get a Webcam Cover
This one isn’t necessarily tied into ransomware but is important nonetheless! Hackers have been known to hack into computers and spy on people using their webcams to gain the information they want. Like the one below, a webcam cover is a great tool to keep your privacy safe. Webcam covers have a sliding plate so you can still access the camera if you have a video conference – and, like the ones below, you can even put your logo on them!
6. Backup Your Data
Perform routine backups of your data on an external server or hard drive as a safety net in case your computer or network is hacked. If infected, ransomware will shut down access to your computer and important software, and the hackers that took over your system will then demand a ransom that you must pay to get back access to your information. Backing up your data provides not only a way for you to gain access to your files in the event your access is maliciously limited but also is good practice in case you accidentally douse your laptop with a large quantity of Dr. Pepper (I say this from experience after losing a semester’s worth of projects in college)…
7. Be Vigilant!
The best protection against this sort of thing is being vigilant. Don’t click on anything; if you’re not sure if an email is real – ask for a second opinion! If you’re not expecting an attachment to be sent with an email, ask the sender if they sent one before you open it. And most importantly, stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the cybersecurity world so you can stay ahead of the curve.
For more information about protecting your business and yourself on the internet, check out this guide by the FBI on ransomware attacks.