User security in 2018: 5 tips
We live and work in a digital world that is becoming increasingly complex, yet it’s easy to become complacent and believe that digital security breaches will always happen to someone else – until your own defences are breached.
Whether it’s clicking on a dodgy email, falling victim to a phishing scam or getting infected by a virus, letting something sinister through the gate can lead to compromised company data and a world of inconvenience – or worse. Cybercriminals can steal financial records, gain access to your most valuable IP and compromise personal information that can lead to identity theft and fraud.
Adding to these factors is the in-market damage to your reputation, the hit to your finances and the disruption to your customers and internal operations alike. Staying on top of security is your only option.
Five simple strategies
User security is largely a matter of common sense; simple preventive measures can go a long way towards keeping your company, and its data safe. For starters, try these five simple steps:
- Implement login and password controls: Creating a strong password isn’t difficult – get started by requiring users to choose long passwords with a mix of numbers, capitals and special characters is a critical first step for security.
- Update your software: Software updates are vital, as makers are patching vulnerabilities and adding protections against new threats, so make sure you keep the software on every device in your fleet up-to-date.
- Ensure your users are download-savvy: Dodgy downloads are still a major security risk, so users should only ever download software from well-known, trusted sources. Instruct users not to download plug-ins or email attachments they’re unsure about.
- Encrypt your data: Encrypt your data, whether it’s stored on your local hard drive or kept online. Encryption is becoming cheaper and easier to use – and is included in most major operating systems and cloud services – so there’s no reason not to use it.
- Use two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) is simple to use – in most cases, a website sends a text message to your phone, to ensure you’re really who you say you are – and provides significant security benefits at little cost.
Keep an eye on your data
The costs in time and money, not least reputation, for companies in plugging a data leak is bad enough – and as of 22 February 2018 Australia’s new Notifiable Data Breaches scheme is in place. But there’s really no excuse for breaches caused by easily preventable factors such as lazy behaviour around password control, leaving computers logged on or falling victim to a scam.
So, when it comes to user security in 2018, why not commit to regular security updates and reminders for your users? After all, creating a security-conscious culture is inexpensive – and without it, even the most sophisticated security measures will be of little use.