Cyber Safety Tips: Don’t Become a Data Hostage

If you are part of a small or medium-sized business, you likely experienced a shift in 2020 to a remote work environment. Today, many employees continue to stay home. Even companies like Microsoft struggle to learn the balance between remote work and in-person work. Remote work might become the new normal for many jobs; this increases the need for uncompromising cybersecurity services.

Here is an overview of data safety.

Because the transition came about quickly, remote and hybrid workers are often not prepared or protected from cyber security threats. Cyberattacks have dramatically increased in the past five years and pose a colossal risk to companies today. Having employees sharing data from their homes opens many avenues for cybercriminals to jump in and find a way to hold files hostage. These attacks are more than annoying: UC Berkeley explains they can devastate an organization. A single attack is enough to cause your business to come to a grinding halt, and you might not recover from the breach. 

Where do I start?

Fortunately, there are steps you and your employees can take to prevent attacks and, just as importantly, recover stolen data. This process starts by partnering with a company specializing in disaster recovery for ransomware attacks, natural disasters, hardware failures, or data breaches. Ideally, the firm you partner with will understand best security practices and how threats evolve. It will also continually monitor and back up your data and help implement a plan to ensure limited disruption if your data falls victim to an attack or breach.

Working with a trusted company to keep your files protected is crucial, educating yourself is paramount. Here are a few more strategies your remote workforce can implement to ensure home offices are as secure as possible.

The Cyber Safety “Musts”

  • Utilize firewalls and antivirus software. Neither of these is sufficient alone. While you can download free antivirus software, these are not as advanced as paid subscriptions, which update as new threats arise. Working with an IT company means you do not have to pay for subscriptions, just a flat-rate service charge.
  • Set automatic updates for operating systems and software. If you use Windows 10, updates are turned on automatically and can only be turned off by those utilizing an enterprise version of the software. Updates can be a hassle, especially if they pop up in the middle of your workday. If you don’t want to worry about software, a dedicated IT team can make sure that you receive regular updates.
  • Only allow employees to download approved apps on their work devices. Limiting access to social media on their work devices can help ensure they stay virus-free.
  • Provide employees with USB drives if needed. Do not allow unapproved devices to be plugged into company equipment. This applies to all unapproved USB devices, even those received at networking events by trusted partners and suppliers.
  • Prohibit employees from connecting to public Wi-Fi. It’s hard to pass up on free Wi-Fi, but Kaspersky explains public internet makes it easy for hackers to intercept your information before it reaches the hotspot you plan to use.
  • Finally, Utilize a VPN, especially for employees who deal with finances or sensitive data. A virtual private network scrambles data, making it more secure and less likely to fall into the wrong hands.

Taking the next steps with online safety

IT companies like C3 Tech can implement a cybersecurity employee training program. This material shows how to create stronger passwords and offers training on how to spot suspicious emails and links.

Protecting your company and its data is a full-time job. Because your network and data are vital to a healthy business, this is no time to skimp. Unless you have a dedicated IT department, it is almost always best to outsource, at minimum, cyber security. The above tips can help you get started on the path to security, especially if you have a remote team.

Guest Author: Amy Collett, Owner and Branding Specialist at bizwell.org

Edited by: Kelly Beach

Data, C3 Tech

Image via Pexels

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