<h2>NCSAM has tools for your business IT tool belt</h2>
Every October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). This annual event is a joint effort between the United States government and industry leaders to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity on a personal and business level.
This year’s NCSAM is focused on emphasizing the importance of personal accountability both at home and in the workplace when it comes to cybersecurity. The theme for this year’s NCSAM is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.”
With this theme in mind, ORAM Corporate Advisors has compiled a list of tips to keep you and your business more secure online. Whether you’re at home, the office, or using a mobile device such as a smartphone, these tips can help you “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” in your personal space and at the workplace.
- Be cautious on public Wi-Fi: Not connecting to public Wi-Fi is your safest option. If you must, ensure you do not type any personal information while using public Wi-Fi as it is often easy to hack and bad actors are always watching for opportunities to steal information for profit.
- Stay private: The more a hacker knows about you, the easier it is for them to get into your account. Keep social media accounts private and only accept people you know. Avoid posting personal information such as your address or what your schedule looks like such as when you are leaving town on vacation. This is a large part of your personal identity management.
- Only purchase from reputable sites: If you’ve never heard of a website, it’s best not to buy from it. If you do, ensure it uses a secure online payment system.
- Click cautiously: A simple click is all it takes for a hacker to take over your computer. Watch out for phishing emails or malicious pop-ups.
- Buy devices for your employees: It’s simple and cheap to allow employees to use their own devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets for mobile use. The issue is that if they have proprietary or sensitive information on those devices and your business isn’t in control of them, it can lead to serious data loss and costly consequences. Invest in enterprise devices.
- Budget for new technology: Be sure to set aside funds each year for upgrades and new technology at home and in the workplace if you’re a business owner. Talk to your IT department or third-party vendor such as ORAM for help in estimating the budget you’ll need.
- Travel carefully: Some devices will automatically connect to available Wi-Fi networks or devices. Disable this feature on your devices when traveling. Before connecting to a public hotspot, confirm the name of the network and exact login procedure with appropriate staff.
- Don’t open weird emails: If an email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments.
- Don’t trust strangers: Be wary of untrusted or unknown sources of emails, links, and attachments. Delete suspicious messages immediately and notify your IT department of anything suspicious.
- Have hard-to-crack passwords: Make passwords a long phrase. The extra length makes it much more difficult to crack. Using a phrase also makes it more memorable for you. You can employ a password manager to make it easier to recall logins and passwords for your accounts and apps.
- Use multi-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds another layer of security to logins. This helps to keep criminals from accessing them with just a username and password.
- Phones aren’t immune: Mobile phones are just as hackable as computers. Make sure your device(s), as well as apps, are up-to-date.
- Back up your information: Back up your information such as contacts, financial data, phones, videos, and other mobile device data. You can do this through another device or cloud service in case your device is compromised and you have to reset it to the factory settings.
- Conduct an annual technology assessment: As a business owner, you will want to conduct an annual technology assessment to ensure your company is where it needs to be in terms of updated technology, security, and employee training. Touch base with your IT department or a third-party vendor such as ORAM that can assist you with this.
- Keep tabs on your apps: Mobile devices are supported by mobile applications. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never even realized you approved. Check your app permissions from time to time and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you no longer need or use.
- Download from the trusted: Only download apps to mobile devices, tablets, and computers from trusted vendors and sources.
- Treat business information as personal information: Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary information. While you may think trade secrets and company credit accounts, this also includes the personally identifiable information (PII) of employees. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
- Keep updated: Always keep everything from desktop computers and smartphones to tablets and laptops up-to-date to ensure the latest security. This includes regular software updates and patches, hardware upgrades, and employee training. The best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating system. Sign up for automatic updates.
- Use anti-virus software: Anti-virus software is always a surefire way to keep yourself and your workplace safer.
- Educate: While you might take extra precautions on the internet, others in your home or office may not. They could give a hacker access to the entire network which includes everyone else using it. Educate your family members and employees regularly about cybersecurity best practices.
- Keep it locked: Lock your device when you’re not using it. Even if you’re only away from your phone for a few minutes, that is enough time for someone to steal or misuse your information. Set your devices to lock after a short time (such as 60 seconds) and use strong PINs and passwords.
- Sign up for Dark Web monitoring: You can sign you and your loved ones up, as well as your employees, for Dark Web monitoring services. This service can be done affordably by organizations such as ORAM that keep an eye out to see if your PII has been compromised so you can make changes before a breach can occur.
- Have a cybersecurity plan in place: If you own a business, you should have a cybersecurity plan in place. Government regulations require such a plan in many industries and it is a necessity if you or your clients are making financial transactions online.
- Secure your network: Whether at home or the office, you need to properly secure your wireless network. Consider placing internet-enabled devices on a separate, dedicated network. An independent IT firm such as ORAM can assist you with this.
- Technology has limits: Though today’s technology is “smart” and data-driven, it is imperative to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by you and your employees. Smart technology such as smartphones, laptops, wireless printers and more are constantly exchanging data. Take proper precautions in using such technology to prevent data breaches.
It only takes one moment or a single small mistake for a data breach to occur. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing event, or instance of accidental exposure. By employing the tips above, you and your organization are less likely to encounter security issues with your IT. If you have more questions about protecting yourself or your business online, call ORAM now at (617) 933-5060 or visit us online.