Protect Yourself From Hackers
The breaking news this week about 1000+ businesses getting hacked with ransomware should have you sitting up and taking notice. This is a real threat to all businesses (including yours). No one is immune.
Although most of the businesses being targeted by hackers right now are larger businesses, once big business puts better security measures in place to prevent these intrusions then hackers will likely turn their attention to smaller businesses.
The dog days of summer are the perfect time to review your technology. We can all be so busy with business that we don’t take time do a technology audit to ensure our safety. Any time you get hacked and your data is held ransom, it is costly if you have to pay out and it takes your focus off work while you try to recover. There is a sense of embarrassment, and you feel violated, but most of all, it is hard enough to make a living as it is without feeling like you constantly have to defend yourself from criminals in order to make a living.
Here are seven tips to improve your security and ensure you keep your data (and your clients’ data) safe from intrusion.
Save all files to the cloud.
If you save your files to your computer rather than using cloud storage, you are putting yourself at risk. If you lose your computer or it crashes, you lose everything. Cloud storage (e.g. OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) allows you to store your files online and access them from any device, anywhere. If your computer or phone crashes, simply buy a new one, sign into your account, and your files will be there. Also, if your computer gets hacked, you can quickly change your password to your cloud storage to prevent hackers from accessing your files.
Back up your computer in real time.
Even if you save all of your files to the cloud, those files are not backed up. If you are the subject of a cyber attack and you get locked out of your computer, you can easily restore your files from the backup. Protect yourself by automatically backing up your data in real time using a service like carbonite.com or back up your files every night to an external hard drive stored in a separate location.
Automatically update your virus/malware software.
Malware is a very real threat. Ransomware is the most popular (hackers break into your device and encrypt your files, so you can’t access them until you pay a ransom… usually in bitcoin). We recommend you purchase PCMatic, Malwarebytes, or Norton Security (you only need one). Set it to update automatically and scan files and websites you browse in real time.
Install a VPN on all devices.
We all know the dangers of identity theft. As mobile workers we are constantly connected to public Wi-Fi, which is unsecure, meaning hackers could see what you are doing. Keep yourself safe by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on all of your devices (computer, tablet, phone). A VPN encrypts your data transfer so no-one can see what you are doing. We use ExpressVPN.com, but there are several other options out there.
Use multi-factor (two-step) authentication.
For every online service you use (e.g. Google Drive, CRM system, etc.) you should ensure your security settings require you to enter a verification code sent to your phone in order to sign into your account. This ensures if anyone tries to sign into your account without permission, they will be blocked without the verification code.
Use a password manager.
Best practice is to change your passwords every few months and never use the same password on two sites. If a website gets hacked and someone steals your email and password, they won’t be able to hack into any other sites using that same login details. Remembering all your passwords is incredibly difficult. At last count I had 156 unique passwords I had to remember. Saving passwords in your “notes” on your phone is high risk! We use Dashlane.com to manage and encrypt our passwords. It is easy to use and keeps us protected.
Update your hardware every few years.
Budget to replace your computer every 4-5 years and your phone/tablet every 2-3 years. Software continually gets more powerful and needs up-to-date hardware to run efficiently. You are a mobile worker. You need the latest software and the latest hardware to run it.
If you get hacked after doing all of this, you can take solace in the fact that you’ve done everything to protect yourself and you have a way to quickly recover. The worst situation is when you didn’t do everything to protect yourself and you get hacked. The security measures I’ve given you today are designed to keep everyday hackers out of your accounts. There will always be sophisticated hackers that can bypass these measures, but chances are they are focusing on bigger fish and you don’t have worry about them.
If you want to learn more about taking your business to the next level, check out https://leadersedgetraining.com/virtual-training.
Leader’s Edge Training