cybersecurity

4 cybersecurity resolutions you should make this New Year

It’s that time of year again. The time when we decide to do better next year, create a plan to do so, and give it the good old college try. This year, in between vowing to get in shape or read more books, consider adding in some cybersecurity resolutions.

These 4 resolutions will help keep you and your business safe online this year.

  1. I resolve to require better passwords

Experiencing a data breach is a disastrous event, so it’s important to prevent them in any way possible. With this in mind, did you know that over 60% of data breaches are due to weak or stolen passwords? It certainly puts into perspective just how important secure passwords are.

Unfortunately, having specific requirements for employees can result in passwords even they don’t remember. One business owner remedied this by giving his staff the following guideline on creating their passwords:

favorite keyboard symbol + first two letters in the name of a loved one + an important phone number

For instance, while @Ma8675309 would be nearly impossible to guess, it’s simply an employee’s favorite symbol, the first letters of their sister Marie’s name and a phone number made immortal by Tommy Tutone.

Of course, you can add additional security with multi-factor authentication. If a hacker can beat both of these cybersecurity measures, they certainly earned their data breach.

  1. I resolve to dispose of data safely

Data is the holy grail which successful businesses drink from, so why would you ever dispose of it? As it turns out, data disposal doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting rid of it. Whether you’re trashing old documents, discarding end-of-life electronics or merely deleting a duplicate file, you’re in the act of disposing data.

When it comes down to it, proper disposal of these items is one of the biggest cybersecurity necessities out there. This means shredding paper documents, emptying “Recycle Bins” and completely formatting soon-to-be-disposed electronics that may contain company data.

When going through this process, make sure those doing the disposing are properly trained and have the appropriate clearance.

  1. Be wary of free Wi-Fi

When employees are working in the office, they shouldn’t be utilizing free Wi-Fi at all. Of course, the business world has evolved to the point where many people don’t work in the office. In fact, 70% of the world’s employed population works remotely at least once every week.

This makes protection of data while working remotely a huge concern. And even if your employees abide by all other security protocols, they are putting your data at risk if they utilize unsecured Wi-Fi networks. In fact, this action is widely considered one of the most common threats to business cybersecurity.

Avoiding this hazard starts with appropriate training and employment agreements. If you’re especially concerned that your workers might be leaching off the local coffee shop, it wouldn’t hurt to invest in mobile hotspots.

  1. I resolve to keep social media private

You might be wondering how much your social media account could have to do with organizational cybersecurity. Unfortunately, the answer is “a lot.” Phishing scams have evolved in leaps and bounds over the years, and cybercriminals would love to gain access to the information you share on these platforms.

Using things as seemingly innocuous as your friend list, birthdate, hometown, and phone number, criminals can gain access to just about any digital system you utilize. Avoid this mishap by making your social profiles viewable by only friends and family.

It is worth noting, though, that not even this proactive measure can fully protect you. In mid-2018, for instance, a glitch at Facebook made 14 million private profiles public for over a week. This means it’s probably smart to simply leave out as much information as possible on these profiles.

Happy New Year!

On the first of every January, we are granted an opportunity to accomplish the goals that evaded us all year long. While we should certainly shoot for the stars with exercise plans and giving up cigarettes, it’s foolhardy to overlook the safety of our business networks.

If you make the right cybersecurity resolutions for the new year and stick to them, you’ll take a big step towards organizational security in 2019.