I heard a piece on the local radio a few days ago from someone offering his apparent expertise on cyber crime to local business. The key messages? Change your password regularly and make sure you do your software updates.
Now they are both clearly things that we should all be doing. However, the advice was in my view low level. For example, most people only change their password after the event and when it is too late.
Cyber-crime is not going away and is likely to get worse and more complex as more vulnerabilities are discovered. My personal view based on experience in this area is that we need to learn how to prevent becoming a victim. With some simple changes to our online behaviour we can stop making it easy for the cyber villains.
Think of it like this. Would you allow access to people you don’t know into your office or home and allow them to walk around unattended? Most businesses will have financial and sensitive data on the premises and take care to secure it. Most people don’t apply that type of thinking to the digital world.
Here’s some of the things that I would suggest that all business owners need to know. It’s not the whole picture but I am going to call it SAVVY.
S is for social media
Do you advertise where you work on your personal social media profile? Not a great idea, all that personal information is a gift to hackers.
A is for apps
Those things you download onto your devices, most of them have the ability to read data and track you. Where does that data end up do you think?
V is for Virtual Private Network
Virtual Private Networks encrypt your connection and data. You can use them on mobile devices and your computers.
V is for Virus Protection
Virus Protection is absolutely vital and needs to be updated regularly and don’t forget your mobile devices which are being actively targeted by cyber criminals.
Y is for YOU!
Yes you, don’t trust your device and be careful what you share. If someone had said to you a few years ago we are going to give you a tracking device to carry around in your pocket I am guessing most of us will have declined the offer. Those social networks we post stuff up on, they sell your data. They want to know about you and what you do. It’s called profiling.
Now I am not suggesting for a minute this is everything you might need to do. But it’s a start. We all need to adopt a more questioning nature about what we share and where it might end up. Information is the new oil and we need to look after it, or face the consequences.
Want to know more? If you live on the Isle of Man I have developed a course in partnership with TLC Business Solutions. On that course we will go into much more detail. We’ll talk in practical and realistic terms about how to be Safe and SAVVY online. The course can be held in house but public dates are also available. Please contact me or TLC for further information.
Live outside the Isle of Man? You can find the same material available as an eLearning course here.