Like the space race and nuclear proliferation a half-century ago, our generation is witnessing an arms race of global proportions. This time around, the battle lines aren’t clearly drawn between warring nations. Instead, this modern arms race is one of network technologies, with cyber criminals cracking and exploiting the security measures we implement to keep data safe as quickly as they evolve.
Many modern networks are leaving people with no proactive deterrent for threats. If you, like many of us, rely on technology as part of your everyday life, these four easy steps can help improve your cyber security.
1. Use Security Software
No matter how informed you think you are, there’s always a risk that something will slip through the cracks or even that someone else will leave your system vulnerable to attacks. Many modern cyber threats are most effective in “zero-hour” scenarios, before we know enough to avoid exposure. Modern security software observes how these threats move in the wild and blocks them early in their lifecycle.
A good software suite isn’t the end-all-be-all, but it’s an easy way to improve your cyber security and get back some piece of mind — particularly if you share a family computer or frequently work while traveling and access third-party networks.
2. Have a Backup Plan
When you think about the type of cyberattacks that could be crippling to your productivity, losing all of your work is at the top of the list. It’s frightening to think that many of the cyber threats favored by criminals today can have exactly this effect. This is why you need to have a good backup plan.
There are quite a few effective disaster recovery solutions available that will have you up and running again quickly in the case of a ransomware-type attack. If you’re not already using one, you owe it to yourself to take this step.
3. Keep Your System Up-to-Date
There’s only a handful of popular operating systems out there, and regardless of which one you’re on, making sure it’s up-to-date is a surefire way to improve your cyber security.
Both Microsoft and Apple regularly distribute OS updates for mobile systems and PCs. If you’re not sure, make sure your system is configured to automatically download and install updates. When research operations like Google Project Zero expose potential vulnerabilities, manufacturers distribute fixes using system updates. That means you can go about your day without worrying that someone will use a years-old security hole to exploit your system.
4. Use Two-Factor Authentication
If you frequently access sensitive accounts using credentials, you can significantly improve your cyber security by adding a second layer of protection to them. Two-factor authentication (2FA) works by sending you a one-time token to use in combination with your standard credentials. This verifies a qualified person is accessing your data.
For example, if you have an email server that’s too sensitive to risk having employees access it from home, a potential solution that would increase flexibility and productivity would be to implement two-factor authentication and open access from behind the 2FA portal and allow your workers access at all times.
There are many more ways to stay safe and keep your business effective. You’ll encounter most of them by keeping your ear to the ground and practicing caution before implementing new technologies. Remember that, ultimately, your cyber security comes down to the choices you make while interacting online — so train yourself and your associates to work smart and use caution.
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