man in office working on computer

Ten Tips for Proper Cyber Hygiene

I like lists. Lists help me stay organized and help me break big, overwhelming things into bite-size pieces I can get done.

One of the big, overwhelming things facing business owners these days is cybersecurity. You don’t have to be an IT person or software expert to gather that we are in perilous times when it comes to cybersecurity, data safety, and protecting your business information.

Just a few months ago, insurance companies were eager to “add on” cyber coverages to any policy for a minimal amount of additional premium, where now they want to underwrite this exposure (to make sure that you don’t really need it before they agree to sell it to you).

By the way, “not needing it” is where you want to be. Cyber insurance should be for a freak occurrence that you do not expect rather than a method to deal with sloppy or non-existent cyber standards and procedures.

Top Ten List for Proper Cyber Hygiene

I did some research and produced a Top Ten list for proper cyber hygiene. Hygiene is a great word to use for this because you need to have consistent standards and procedures that you incorporate into your operations to make sure that you have good cyber health and well-being.

If you have questions, or want to discuss your cyber hygiene, call us.

10. Install Antivirus and Malware Software

First, use a reputable company that is highly rated. Keep up with the expiration dates of your software programs and purchase a package that fits your business needs. If you schedule routine upgrades, do not skip them.

9. Keep Your Hard Drive Clean

Delete old and unused programs. Also, reformat your hard drive on a scheduled basis.

8. Use Network Firewalls

Firewalls can be an important method to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your website and other online data. Don’t cheap out when you install your firewalls.

7. Back Up All Systems Regularly

Back up your files and programs offline, to an external hard disk, or to the cloud. Do this on a schedule that fits your business operations. If you have a security breach, you can use your backup to create a “clean” data set to resume your operations. From a physical perils point of view, make sure that your external hard disk is stored or kept somewhere other than the same room as your server or computer.

6. Update Software Regularly

Make sure that all your programs have the most up-to-date versions, especially any security software that you use. You want to have the latest protections that are added to each program.

5. Use Multifactor Authentication Wherever Practical

This creates another layer of security and makes your data harder to access. A multifactor authentication procedure adds a second password or code to be entered to access a program or portal. You may even be able to add biometric devices to particularly sensitive programs or data.

4. Employ Device Encryption

Look into encryption of email, other communication programs, and how you connect to other devices such as laptops, and remote users.

3. Do Not Open Suspicious Emails, Links, or Attachments – Think Before You Click

More than any other cyber threat you may face, problems are caused by not thinking before you click. Hackers and cyber evildoers are constantly refining their techniques to get you to divulge sensitive data or unknowingly install malware on your computer. The best defense is never open suspicious email, attachments, or links. Constantly reinforce this to your employees and staff.

2. Use Strong Passwords and Change Passwords Frequently

It sounds so simple, but this is one of the easiest methods to protect your data. Have a schedule for changing your passwords and take the time to make them complex and difficult to guess. Do not use the same password all the time! There are systems you can install that do some of this for you, such as Password Manager from Google. Check with your IT consultant to see if any of these are a fit for your business.

1. Purchase Cybersecurity and Data Breach Insurance Coverage

Even with an excellent hygiene plan and dedicated implementation and monitoring, you may not be fully protected. Here, your fallback plan should be a strong insurance program. We’re here to help you evaluate your needs and find the right insurance to meet those needs. Contact us now!