Top 10 Tips to improve your cyber security

Security breaches can be costly to your business and could interrupt your day-to-day running significantly. Take a look at our Top 10 Tips to follow to help improve your cyber security.

1. Be vigilant for phishing emails

Experts have predicted that a phishing attack is likely to happen every 11 seconds in 2021. In fact, 92% of malware is delivered via email. Phishing emails can be undoubtedly fake, but increasingly they are becoming more convincing and are misleading more people. These emails encourage you to click and link and dupe you into logging onto a website that has been forged, stealing your data in the process. There could also be an attachment that is actually infested with malware or a virus, letting the scammers gain access to your computer and data if it is opened or downloaded.

Be wary of what you are clicking and who the email is from. It can be tricky to know if emails are real, as they could even be from a known sender whose account has been compromised. If you aren’t expecting the link or attachment from the sender, it is prudent to leave it for now and give them a call to double-check it is legitimate. It is better to be safe than sorry in these instances as if a fraudster gains access to your data, they can hold it for ransom and demand payment for the information to be returned.

2. Back up your important data

Keeping your data backed up securely, preferably in a physical location and in the cloud too. This is good practice, but it means should you have a ransomware attack, you will still have copies of data to restore from. In turn, it means you won’t have to pay the money to gain access to your files and reduce crucial time without your documents.

3. Keep your computer and software updated

While updates may seem like a bit of a pain sometimes, they are crucial to keeping your device safe. Keeping not only your computer updated but also the software installed up to date can protect you from any vulnerabilities. Attackers know these weak spots and will build their viruses to target these areas to gain access to your data.

4. Use strong passwords and a password manager

Having strong passwords is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe online. Some of the most popular passwords in 2021 are “123456” and “password”. Each account should have its own unique password to protect against attacks. This may sound difficult, but by using a password manager you can keep them all securely in one place. With around 70% of small businesses not sticking to their password policies strictly, many go unchanged for a long time, increasing the risk of breaches.

A strong password consists of at least 8 characters, with a mixture of capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Fluent recommends the password manager Keeper to keep these safe and organised.

5. Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication

Should a password become compromised, having extra authentication is another barrier to protect your information. This typically includes either being prompted to input a code from an app, or a code sent to your phone. Therefore, attackers can’t get any further through the log-in process without also having access to your mobile phone.

Whenever presented with the option for two or multi-factor authentication, we highly recommend enabling this for extra security. It may add a few extra seconds to your logging-in process, but the benefits outweigh this greatly.

6. Ensure to only connect to secure networks

Many of us have learned to live with VPN connections whilst working from home. These create an encrypted channel for your data to flow through, making it harder for criminals to access your data. If you are working with important information while connected to a public network, make sure to use a VPN.

If you don’t have access to a VPN, tethering to your phone and using your own mobile data is another solution to keeping safe.

7. Use a trusted anti-virus and firewall

Anti-Virus has long been the most popular way to improve your cyber security at home and in the workplace. The software works to block viruses and malware amongst other things to protect your device. Make sure to choose a well-known and trusted anti-virus for the best protection.

Firewalls work in a similar way, by filtering the traffic that enters your device to stop outsiders from accessing your private data. Windows comes with built-in anti-virus and firewall called Microsoft Defender, however, implementing a business-grade option is usually a safer option.

8. Keep mobile devices protected

If you work from your phone, then keeping this updated and protected is equally as important as keeping your work computer safe. If confidential emails and private documents are stored on your phone, this could make it a target. Make sure to use a strong password or locking method to access your device be careful of public networks as mentioned before, and have a policy in place to minimise any damage should your device become lost or stolen.

9. Be cautious of downloads

Be aware of where you might be downloading any software or files from on the internet. Should you doubt the authenticity of a download, do some research yourself. If this comes back inconclusive then it is better to be safe and look for a more official source. When trying to download well-known software such as Microsoft Office, check the URL to confirm you are on the official website.

10. Train employees to understand cyber security

Ensuring your staff are aware of cyber security best practices will be paramount in keeping your business’s information protected. Providing training on how to maintain company data can help to prevent any accidents or breaches in the future. Implementing some of the above, such as anti-virus and password managers, will help with extra security but empowering your employees with knowledge is also imperative.

Cyber security: how can we help you?

Discover how Fluent can help secure your network and devices. Contact us today for a friendly chat to see how we can help you.

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