6 Ways To Strengthen Your Cyber Security

In our time-poor world, many of us rely on a range of smart, convenient and connected devices that get things done in much less time –both personally and professionally. However, along with technical advancements and the widespread use of technology, there comes an increase in cybercrime. 

So how can we ensure devices are protected and individuals and businesses’ identities and reputations remain safe and secure? Here are our top 6 ways you can strengthen your cyber security

1 – Passwords

One of the simplest ways to improve cyber security is by ensuring your passwords are both strong and secure. Weak passwords should be replaced with unique and longer passwords for each of your online accounts using a mix of symbols, numbers and upper and lower case letters to make them harder to hack. There are a variety of password managing tools out there that can help, and some will even notify you if one of your accounts has been compromised.

You should also not share passwords, regularly change them and restrict your use and access of accounts with administration privileges. Two- or multi-factor authentication (MFA) should also be used wherever possible – this involves providing multiple pieces of information to authenticate that you are the account holder. MFA can include a combination of PINs, passwords and fingerprint scanning. 

For business purposes, you could also consider adopting a single-sign-on user authentication service (SSO) which use temporary tokens for logging on rather than static credentials, or a password vault where privileged credentials are checked in and out and each password automatically rotates to ensure greater randomisation. 

2 – Security

In terms of enhancing cyber security, make sure you install trusted security software on all devices to prevent infection. This should include anti-spyware and anti-virus filters. Security software should ideally update automatically, as updates often contain important security upgrades for recent attacks and viruses. Run weekly malware (malicious software) and anti-virus scans, and be aware of ransomware (a type of malware that threatens to publish the victim’s data or block access unless a ransom is paid). 

Set up a firewall (a piece of software or hardware that sits between your computer and the internet), which can protect networks and act as a gatekeeper for all incoming and outgoing traffic. Also, turn on your network encryption and encrypt data when it’s stored or sent online. Encryption converts data into a secret code before it’s sent over the internet. This reduces the risk of tampering, theft or destruction. And be vigilant when using public or complimentary wireless networks, especially when making online financial transactions!

3 – Spam Filters

Another method of protecting your cyber security is to use spam filters to reduce the amount of phishing emails and spam you receive. These types of emails are usually from a person or organisation you don’t know offering products or services that are too good to be true! They also often ask for login and password information, and contain misspelt words or questionable email addresses. 

Unfortunately, these can be embedded with malware, so try not to open them, don’t download any attachments or click on hyperlinks,  and attempt to unsubscribe or contact them by phone. Better yet, just delete them!

4 – Security Policies

When it comes to cyber security in the workplace, security policies can help employees understand what is acceptable in terms of sharing data, emails, social media posts and internet sites on computers and other devices. Employees should also be carefull about how and where they keep their devices, and how they use USB sticks and portable hard drives. Training can be an important factor in terms of educating staff about their computer rights and responsibilities, maintaining strong passwords, network access, online threats and how to report suspicious online activity. 

If you are a business owner, keep a record of all the software and computer equipment you use and make sure they are secure. And if there is software or equipment that’s no longer used or needed (particularly by former employees), get rid of them! 

For businesses that deal with customers online, it’s alo critical that you keep their information safe. You should secure any personal customer information you store, and invest in and provide a secure online transaction environment – gateway providers should be able to assist with preventing online payment fraud. It’s also worth remembering there are privacy laws around customers’ personal information, so your business should have a current and clear privacy policy available on your website. 

5 – Data Backup 

It is essential that you back up any important data and information regularly, and a typically system usually includes daily incremental back ups to cloud storage and/or a portable devices, and end-of-week, quarterly and annual server back-ups. You should store external drives separately offsite and regularly test them to make sure that you can restore data. Cloud storage solutions provided by experts (like us!) are an ideal solution here as they will use encryption when transferring and storing your data, and provide multi-factor authentication for access.

6 – Staying Informed

The Australian Government has a host of resources that provide tips on increasing your cyber security and current  updates in terms of the latest scams and security risks: 

Top Cyber Security Tips For Individuals

How To Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats 

Stay Smart Online – The Free Online Threat Alert Service 

Here at Deployus, our expert team offer IT security solutions for secure remote access, SD-WAN, and SaaS and infrastructure. We also offer the deployment of centralised logging and correlation technologies and Next Generation Firewall technologies to ensure your data and business networks are safe and secure. 

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