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7 Data Security Tips to Keep Your Small Business Safe

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Whenever you hear of the term cyber-crime, you probably associate it with big businesses and corporations.

After all, why would anyone target your small enterprise?

Thinking like this could prove to be damaging and possibly catastrophic.

Small businesses are increasingly becoming the victims of cyber-attacks. In fact, Symantec reported that out of all the cyber-attacks perpetrated in 2015, , 43% targeted small businesses. Their report also indicated that the attack on small businesses has been on the rise with 2011 having 18%, 2012 having 31%, 2013 having 30%, and 2014 having 34%.

The trend indicated above is worrying.

But, remember, the reason for the increased attacks is because hackers have realized that small businesses apply little to no effort in the securing of their data.

So what is data security and how does it protect your business from potential threats?

How to keep your small business data safe?

Data security or protection, put simply, is the procedure employed to ensure that your data cannot be corrupted or accessed illegally.

The idea behind securing your data is to protect your business’s data while ensuring that it stays private. Data includes all personal and business files that are stored in the database. The process of securing data generally follows these three steps:

  • Encryption. For any data to be of any use, it has to be understandable on a human level. Encryption counters this by using a set of algorithms and mathematical schemes to scramble the information into an unreadable format. This encrypted text can only be decoded by someone who has the decryption key.
    To take it up a notch, end-point full encryption is employed. It encrypts every last bit of data in your hard disk thus giving you a very high form of protection.
  • Strong user Authentication. We encounter user authentication on a daily basis. Every time you try to login into your computer or social media account, you are required to go through a one-step verification process. One-step verification is weak and is easily hacked. A strong user authentication process will often involve multiple stages of verification making it very difficult to hack.
  • Data Backup. You have to be prepared for when the worst happens. Securing your data will never give you 100% assurance. There is always the chance that there might be a loophole in the system which may include an inside job. That is why the process of securing data also includes a backup plan. The backup will ensure that although the information may be stolen, you can always restore it.

By now, you might be inclined to start securing your data; but why is it important to do so?

Someone could be accessing your information without your knowledge

In this internet technology-driven world, anything is possible. Industrial espionage is no longer a term that is relegated to spy films and large corporations; the threat of it happening to you is very real. Someone, probably a competitor, could be keeping track of your undertakings. This information could give them an edge. You might be playing clean, but that doesn’t mean that someone else does.

A trillion cyber-attacks were attempted during the past year

Dell reported that they helped prevent over 1 trillion hacks during the previous year. This figure is mind-boggling. You cannot possibly want to put your business at risk knowing that you could get attacked at any time.

The financial implications of a data breach

The costs of cleaning up and recovering your data after an attack are very high. The cost of setting up a data security system pales in comparison with that of picking up the pieces after being subjected to cyber-crime.

Reputation

As a small and growing business, your business wears its reputation like a badge of honor. Nothing could devastate your company faster than losing your customer’s trust.

Now that we know why it is important to secure your data, here are seven data security tips for small business:

1. Adopting EMV

EMV initials stand for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. EMV is an encrypted payment system that uses microchips in the credit card to process transactions. In addition, it also protects the information in the card. This ensures that both parties are free from fraud. Upgrade the payment system in your business to accept EMV cards. Not only will this protect your business, but it will also absolve you from liability in the event that fraud does happen. Plus train your team with PCI training online.

2. Securing your wireless network

Wireless networks attract more hackers than a moth to a light bulb. While your standard network encryption key might keep your next door neighbors from accessing your network, hackers could log into it in their sleep. This is why you need to use the strongest encryption setting in your router to protect your business. Additionally, disable the broadcasting function in order to make your network invisible. After all, they cannot hack what they can’t see.

3. Perform background checks

At times, we might get caught up in securing our businesses against outside intrusions and fail to protect it from what is happening right in front of us. Inside jobs are the biggest threats to a business apart from cyber-crime. Pricewatercoopers reported that employees orchestrated over 70% of frauds committed to small businesses.

This is why you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to selecting the right employees for your business. Check their backgrounds as these will often give a clue on what kind of person they are. In addition, be observant of what is going on with your employees. Changes in character should be duly noted as changes in their performance will often accompany these.

4. Decentralize password access to sensitive data

Never allow one person to have access to all the passwords. The levels of entry should be distributed to different employees to minimize the risk of the data being breached. Maintain the central access key yourself.

5. Shred business documents

Physical documents need to be safeguarded. Access to the documents should require authorization from the necessary source. This should ensure that in case a document goes missing, you can easily trail the theft process, or at least there will be someone to be held accountable.

Additionally, old records that have their information in the database should follow the correct process of discarding. The best way to achieve this is through shredding by a particular person.

6. Upgrade your software

Buy the necessary software that will help you in this quest. These include encryption software and excellent anti-virus programs.

Good corporate anti-virus programs come in handy because hackers nowadays have automated their hacking systems. These means that bots will try to infiltrate your system, a good antivirus should take care of this. Plus don’t forget your smartphone. You should also look into protecting your mobile from viruses and this is even more important if you do work on a phone and that includes just answering emails.

7. Data backup of your business data

Like we previously discussed, backing up your data is preparing yourself for the worst. It will save you a lot of hassle in case something does happen.

These security threats against your data information are unlikely to end anytime soon.

This is because the world has all but embraced the internet. Failing to have a website for your business is just bad business practice. The caveat is that this puts your business at risk of hacking. It is therefore imperative to secure your business in all ways that you can.

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Security

4 Online Threats to Your Business to Be Aware Of

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Cybercrime has changed criminal activity. No longer are heists solely performed by rogues attempting to break into a building for money or jewelry.

Nowadays, business theft is likely to come in the form of a cyber attack, with a hacker attempting to gain access to their target’s funds or data via a cyber-portal, which they can often do with ease.

Sadly, malicious cyber attacks are a genuine threat to companies of all sizes and in every industry. To ensure your business never becomes a cybercriminal’s latest victim, here are the four online threats to your business to be aware of.

1. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are one of the most common data security issues many companies face, and they can grant a cybercriminal with access to:

  • Usernames
  • Account passwords
  • Credit card information

Hackers will commonly pass themselves off as a legitimate source to fool their victims and encourage them to provide sensitive data.

The best defense against a phishing scam is cybersecurity training. Your employees often pose the biggest risk to your business when it comes to this hacking tactic, which is why you must educate your staff on the signs of a potential threat and introduce strict cybersecurity policies for them to follow.

2. Docker Exploitation

Many organizations have invested in container authorization tools to deploy their applications successfully.

While these tools are ultimately improving the working lives for many DevOps engineers, they could pose a serious cybersecurity risk if left vulnerable, as a hacker could remotely execute a code on a server and gain full control of a production container cluster.

Thankfully, there are ways to detect and prevent Docker exploits with StackRox, as they will test the product against realistic vulnerabilities using algorithmic-based automatic anomaly detection, without the need to configure complex, unreliable rules.

3. Session Hijacking

As millions of online consumers communicate with companies on different servers located across the globe, cybercriminals can potentially listen to a conversation before stealing sensitive data. To do so, they might embark on SQL injections or man-in-the-middle attacks.

Businesses must, therefore, implement various measures to secure future communications and protect both their safety and their customers’ data.

For example, they could incorporate cryptographic protocols, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to create safe and secure communications between a company’s servers and their client web browsers.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware is a powerful type of malware that attempts to gain access to a computer, before locking out a user and demanding money in exchange for the recovery key to regain access to a network and data.

It is becoming a popular option with cybercriminals due to the invention of cryptocurrency, which can prevent law enforcement from tracking a payment.

The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack is a prime example of the power of the malware, as it led to the infection of approximately 300,000 computers across the world in 150 countries, with the total damages reportedly reaching billions of dollars.

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Safety First: 7 Things Startups Need to Know About Protecting Shared Files

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In any modern business, your teams will exchange multiple files throughout the day. These files can be as innocuous as funny memes or email exchanges. Yet, they can also contain sensitive company information that hackers work hard to access.

They work so hard because information is more valuable than gold. With it, hackers can influence the way a company makes decisions, or even land it in legal jeopardy. And one of the most common ways they access information is by targeting shared files.

When employees share files, they are actually creating an opportunity for hackers to snag information. Anything transmitted through the internet can be snagged by someone with enough know-how. It takes diligence and a company-wide emphasis on security to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Keep reading below to learn how to keep shared files safe, so your company stay productive and keep serving its customers.

1. Educate Everyone About File Sharing

Employee education is one of the best investments any business leader can make. When you support your employees as they try to get better at their jobs, you will inevitably make your company more productive. And when you invest in education around cybersecurity or hire a professional for it, you make it safer too.

You can enroll employees in a Lynda course or simply reach to a cybersecurity firm to give employees personal lessons. When employees know how to safely communicate online, you reduce your chance of information leaking. You protect yourself from the severe damage hackers can wreak.

2. Shared Files Should Be Password Protected

Shared files are uniquely vulnerable to hacking attempts since hackers can snag them as they’re being exchanged. Files that are stored on a server or on a personal computer require hackers to penetrate multiple systems before they can access them. Yet, when files are transmitted, hackers just need access to the means with which it’s sent.

That’s why your files should always be protected on some level. You can password-protect basic file formats like PDFs or Word documents. Yet, it’s better if you encrypt your files totally.

With file encryption, even if someone gets their hands on it, they won’t be able to read it. Without the right decryption key, they’ll just have a file filled with random nonsense. And that keeps your company safe.

3. Collaborate Software Can Be Use For Anything

To maximize your security, you should centralize the software your teams use to get work done. Chances are that you have different software for communications, file-sharing, and development. That needs to change.

Most collaboration software put an emphasis on file sharing security, now. After multiple, major companies were hacked, they now understand the need to secure a company’s communications. That means you can chat, share files, or even communicate with clients all from one piece of software.

Not only does that help boost your company’s security, but it also makes it more productive.

4. Ensure Your Cloud Stays Secure

Despite the option to use centralized collaboration tools, most companies still use a cloud. There are many positives to sticking with it: it offers virtually limitless storage as well as easy access. Yet, there is also one significant negative to the cloud.

Hackers know to target the cloud if they hear of a company using it. They know that by hacking a company’s cloud, they will be able to access tomes of extremely sensitive information. All they need is the password to it, and to get they can use phishing attempts or install a trojan virus.

Protecting your cloud is one of the most important things your company should strive to do. Don’t share anything with anyone who doesn’t need access to it. And you should always monitor the activity on your cloud to make sure nothing is ever revealed which shouldn’t be.

5. Sensitive Info Needs Pretty Good Protection

Some companies deal with information that is more sensitive than basic financial details or employee records. For example, media companies may occasionally handle especially vital political information. It’s possible for private companies to handle files which would roil people if ever revealed inappropriately.

Files like that should only ever be transmitted using tools like PGP. The acronym stands for Pretty Good Protection, and it’s earned that name for a reason. The program essentially takes a message and turns it into a series of random numbers and letters.

That way, if someone accesses it, they won’t be able to tell what it’s supposed to tell. The only way to understand the message is by decrypting it with a key that only the intended recipient should have. Using PGP daily will give a noticeable edge against hackers who are used to less-than-secure companies.

6. Record Who Accesses What, And When They Access It

To protect yourself from leaks and from people inappropriately accessing files they shouldn’t, you need to keep good records. Most software automatically logs who accesses files and what times they access it. And most of this information is logged on a file linked to the original file, so it can’t be manipulated.

That way, if you suspect someone may have access to a file who shouldn’t you can’t check the logs. Not only will you be able to tell if a suspicious account accesses a file, but you’ll also be able to tell if someone’s account is behaving suspiciously. With these access logs, you’ll be able to tell if you have a problem and will be able to address it before it gets worse.

7. Be Cautious While Transmitting Files

You can’t trust everybody on the internet. The person you talk to on your messaging program may not actually be your coworker. You can never ever truly tell if someone is who they truly claim to be.

You can take steps to verify that someone is telling the truth. You can reach out to coworkers through other means, such as by email, to make sure you’re both on the same page. You can also request specific details about something before handing over information.

One you transmit a file, it may not be able to be brought back. So, be careful with what you send over since you can never be truly sure if it’s going to the right place.

Information Is More Valuable Than Money

The one thing you should always keep in the back of your mind is that information is more important than money. When hackers try to access your systems, they’re not after your profits. Instead, they want information about your company.

And the most common way they access this information is through shared files. Those files may be inadvertently shared with hackers pretending to be coworkers. They may also be outright stolen by hackers with access to the means with which it’s transmitted.

You can never be absolutely safe on the internet, but you can take steps to protect yourself on it. And the first step is to stay informed; to do that, you should just keep reading here. We stay updated with the latest information about business and technology so you can determine your next step to stay secure!

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Roles of a Cyber Security Consultant

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The severity and impact of cyber-attacks is intensifying. On the other hand, companies lack IT employees with the expertise to deal with cybercrime. For this reason, organizations are opting to place their IT security needs with third-party security providers, such as cyber security consultants.

A cyber security consultant is a professional in the IT industry who is tasked with keeping systems and networks safe from internal and external attacks. Cyber security consultants do this by:

  • Regulating access to systems by, for instance, creating security clearance levels
  • Implementing security programs to protect information
  • Keeping up-to-date with approaches used by cyber criminals, such as phishing, viruses, hacking, ransomware, etcetera.

Cyber security consultants play the role of defenders. But to do so effectively, they must also understand how attackers work. As such cyber security consultants often explore systems for weaknesses that can be exploited by cyber criminals. They then use this information to develop security solutions to strengthen networks and systems. If you are a cyber security expert and have gained experience working in the field for years, then you can become a cyber security consultant. Some other roles in this field include:

  • Security architect
  • Penetration Tester/Ethical Hacker
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This is the head of security in a company.

Why companies invest hugely in data security

There are various reasons why companies invest in data security for the following reasons:

Cyber-crime is costly to manage

The cost of cybercrime is increasing. In 2015, costs stood at $3 trillion; this figure is expected to rise to $6 trillion by 2021. The burden of these costs is borne by the companies whose systems are breached. A big part of this cost goes to litigation, as affected customers sue for damage caused.

Diminished investor confidence

Whereas there are many adverse effects of data breaches, perhaps the biggest one is that incidents of cybercrime dilute investor confidence. For instance, in 2016, a cyber-attack on yahoo was discovered in the middle of an acquisition deal with Verizon. Yahoo was forced to accept a closing price that was $300 million below its original asking price of $4.8 billion.

For investors and members of the public, cyber security is now a criterion for deciding which companies to invest in. As part of their due diligence, they seek to understand a company’s strategy for managing risk, and want assurance that their money and information will be safe.

Also, the attacks by hackers on fortune 500 companies have sent the message that everyone is vulnerable. As such, investors are cautious now more than ever. For companies, the impact on their stock valuation can have lasting effects from the ensuing customer loss, and loss of finances either directly due to the attack or indirectly as shareholders and investors pull out their funds.

To conform to business regulations

Cyber-attacks change business regulation rules, ultimately affecting how companies run their operations. A case in point is the attack on Equifax, a consumer reporting agency. The 2017 attack compromised information of 143 million consumers, causing an outcry among the public, security companies, and the government. After the Equifax attack, the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act was introduced. The bill seeks to give policing rights to the Federal Trade Commission and the power to fine credit reporting agencies and to ensure they compensate victims.

Greater demand for privacy

Data breaches have left the public asking for one thing: privacy. Governments have responded by putting strict privacy laws in place. In Europe, The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires companies to delete consumer data upon request. Companies that utilize customer data for targeted marketing will have to change how they market. The impact will be even greater if such privacy rights enter huge markets like the US.

Roles of a cyber security consultant

As mentioned, individuals and businesses both face cyber threats on their networks and online systems. The main role of a cyber security consultant is to identify such threats and prevent them from happening.

Though you can be employed directly by a company as a security consultant, as a beginner, you will most likely work for a cyber security company. Organizations pay such companies for their expertise. It will be the job of the security company you work for to decide whether your skills and experience level measure up to a contract.

You will be required to:

  1. Ensure the online security of any clients allocated to you. More so, depending on the structure and work model of your employer, you may work with accounts from different industries, or specialize in government contracts, banks, insurance, hospitals, among others.
  2. Assess your clients’ systems and identify security issues unique to each client. Based on your findings, create a business case recommending security architecture and strategies that should be deployed to prevent threats and address vulnerable areas.
  3. Explain the existing threat to your client, why you need to deploy architecture to protect them and how your deployments will protect their business.
  4. After getting buy-in from clients, test and deploy solutions.
  5. Provide user-training to your client’s employees. To ensure long-term security, you will need to maintain a relationship with teams and offer ongoing assistance as needed.
  6. Stay up to date with current cyber threats, trends, and technologies, to outdo cyber criminals. You need to constantly stay up to date with:
    • Hardware Authentication. This will help you to control log-in procedures. To log in, a user needs a username, a password, a device, and a token.  A token provides additional authentication, making it harder for unauthorized users from getting into a system even if they have a user name or password.
    • Behavior analytics. Analyzing user behavior can tell you whether log in credentials have been compromised.
    • Deep Learning. This will allow you to identify deviations in user behavior.

To succeed in these roles, you need the following skills:

  • Knowledge of information security
  • Understand security technology
  • Be a great lister and communicator
  • Ability to explain technical issues to users
  • Great team player
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Able to work under pressure and meet project deadlines
  • Project management skills

More so, to take advantage of job opportunities, you need to have relevant work experience. For instance, if you are a database administrator, you stand a better chance of landing a job managing database security than someone who has no prior experience with databases.

What’s next: Exploit countless career options for cyber security consultants

As cyber-attacks have grown, so has the demand for cyber security consultants among government agencies, banks, medical institutions, insurance companies, among others.

But reports from researchers, security bodies and governments maintain that the skills gap in cyber security is still glaring. An article from the US Bureau of labor statistics estimates a projected growth of 28% for information security analyst jobs from 2016 to 2026. The article also notes that the demand for managed security service providers will rise, as companies still lack the capacity to handle cyber threats.

Trends show there is and always has been a shortage of cyber security talent. For example:

  • In 2014, the Cisco Annual Security Report stated that by 2014, there would be a shortage of 1 million cyber security professionals globally.
  • In 2015, Symantec CEO, Michael Brown, said that by 2019, though the demand for cybersecurity professionals will have risen to 6 million jobs, there will still be a talent shortage of 1.5 million.
  • In 2016 ISACA conducted a skills gap analysis that estimated a shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by the year 2019.
  • Current job forecasts still show that the industry is unable to cope with the increasing demand for cybersecurity jobs. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021, 3.5 million cyber security jobs will be unfilled.

Robert Herjavec, CEO of Herjavec Group, points out that the shortage of security talent hampers efforts to deal with the ever-increasing incidents of cybercrime. This makes it highly likely that black hat hackers will continue to outpace us. Herjavec recommends that everyone who is employed in IT needs to take an active part in defending their company’s infrastructure and network.

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4 Things Businesses Should Consider To Improve Physical Security

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1000 US small business owners were surveyed in 2016; nearly 10% of them said that they had suffered from burglary or theft.

Burglary or theft can cause small businesses massive financial difficulties, not to mention potential disputes with insurance providers with regards to any potential damage or cash recovery.

By not having any security measures in place, your business can be easily identified by criminals as an easy target for burglary or theft.

If you think about it, when you are purchasing something online, you always look at the address bar to ensure you see the green lock to make sure that your payment is safe and secure; why should your business be any different?

Remember, not just physical assets are valuable; digital data on physical digital devices such as laptops count as a data breach and may contain information that is valuable for criminals such as credit card information or social security numbers.

Now is the time to take your security more seriously.

1. Access Control

Installing an access control system can add a physical deterrent to any criminal or person that may wish to enter parts of your business that should not be accessed by anyone. Employees using a form of access control shows any visitors or customers that your business takes their security seriously.

According to Cssltd.co.uk, 30% of intruders entered the premises through an unlocked door.

Access control can be customized completely to allow only certain employees access to specific areas.

With this flexibility of picking and choosing who has access to what, this greatly reduces the chance that someone could simply walk in, walk out and take whatever they wish from your business with no issue.

2. Employee ID

Issuing employees with ID cards will ensure that identifying individuals is easy. ID cards can be customized to have additional security features on them; such as using access control cards as employee ID.

Combining employee ID with an access control system adds an extra layer of security that is often not even thought of.

There is a wide range of ID card security features such as barcodes, QR codes, mag stripe and more.

In 2016, Dutch businesses lost almost €1.5million due to business identity theft.

3. Lanyards

Lanyards are a versatile object that recently has even been picked up by top end fashion brands that sell for extortionate amounts of money. Luckily, lanyards for your business do not need to be that expensive.

Small businesses can utilize plain, pre-printed or fully personalized lanyards. Plain or pre-printed lanyards are available in a wide range of colours at a low price point. For example, using colour coding with lanyards to determine which employee belongs to which department can assist security in identifying who belongs where.

Personalized lanyards may cost more but they will be exclusively available to the business as the design will be completely personalized for you. Whilst personalized lanyards are great for security, they also give your employees an important marketing tool.

Lanyards are very useful, they can hold ID cards, car keys and more. Employees will find other uses for your personalized lanyards when not at the business premises. A company such as ID Card Centre can supply your business with personalized lanyards that fit your needs.

4. Training employees

If your business can afford to hire security staff that’s great. Other small businesses may not have the spare funds for this.

A more cost-effective solution is to ensure all employees understand security and why it’s paramount for the business to ensure that it is safe and secure.

Training your employees also tells them that you trust them, which in return means that they will want to work harder for the business.

By ensuring all your employees have been trained to follow strict security measures, this can deter any potential criminal from attempting to enter your premises.

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5 key email security threats and how to protect against them

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In 2014, a hacker group gained access to Sony Pictures. Investigators, in particular, the CEO of Cylance speculated that the hackers targeted Apple IDs with a phishing attack and once a user fell prey to the attack, the hackers made their way into Sony servers.

Such attacks are on the increase and as of last year – 2018, statistics indicate that 1 in 131 emails contain malware. That paints a dire picture and raises the stakes because whether it is personal or business emails, people can no longer afford to ignore email security.

However, to practice email security best practices, it is important first to understand the primary email security threats.

1. Interception of confidential data

Sending any confidential data via email over an unencrypted channel is akin to inviting interception and data theft. An eavesdropping attack, whereby a hacker steals information from an unsecured network, is one of the easiest ways a hacker can access private traffic.

Data are sent in plain text in an unsecured network, meaning that passwords and bank details will be shown in plain sight, hence the best way to protect against interception attempts is to secure your networks if possible, or encrypt your traffic by various means which we shall look into later.

2. Malware

A malware is a software that someone intentionally designs to cause disruption, damage data or gain unauthorized access. Statistics indicate that there are over 600 million different forms of malware.

While malware can hide anywhere and in different file forms, email forms a bulk of the hiding place for malware. That is because it is easy to send an email carrying a malware appear legitimate by making it seem as if it is from a personal friend or co-worker.

As a result, especially because people do not take time to confirm that the email is actually from the intended sender, they open the attachment with the malware and infect their devices. The malware then causes damage, and by the time you or the IT department realizes what is happening, a lot of sensitive data might already be gone.

3. Phishing attacks

A phishing scam occurs when a criminal sends an email in the guise of someone else, such as your company CEO, in an attempt to fish for sensitive information from the target.

Often, the email seems urgent, and it can elicit curiosity or fear making it impossible for the target not to open the email. Once the target opens the email, he/she is then prompted to surrender a user name, password, credit card number and so on.

Chances are you’ve run into a phishing scam before as they are highly prevalent all around the world. A 2017 report indicates that cybercriminals create close 1.5 million new phishing sites every month making it arguably the greatest email security threat.

4. Weak passwords

Weak passwords are yet another significant email security vulnerability. They can be easily compromised in a brute force attack. You might think that a password with personal clues like ‘marvelfan1988’ is far from generic but the truth is, it takes only 15 hours to crack it by brute force.

Once they get access to your email, then they have access to everything else they might need – phone number, answer to your security question, banking, and credit card details, even details to online financial accounts such as PayPal. This is also why holding down your email security fort is so vital.

The situation becomes direr if you use one password for all your online accounts because that means the hacker can now access your entire digital life.

5. Stolen devices

Admittedly, stolen devices are the least concerning email security threat. However, one cannot afford to ignore because once a thief steals a device, all they have to do is tap on view emails and they have access to all manner of sensitive data.

Verdict?

Now that you understand the major email security threats, the question now becomes, what are the ways to improve the security and privacy of your emails? Below are three key guidelines you can follow to ensure you improve your email security.

Ways of Improving Your Email Security and Privacy

Ensure That You Always Use TLS

TLS is Transport Layer Security, and it is a protocol that encrypts any connection to a website, a server or another client. Also, the protocol verifies that any server you connect to is authentic.

Note also that TSL encrypts communication between one server and another which means it offers all-around protection. With TSL, it becomes harder to intercept confidential data – the number one email security threat mentioned above.

To ensure TSL is activated, especially if you are using an external email client, open the client and go to settings. Under settings look for STARTTLS or SSL/TLS and activate the option. If any of these two options are not available, then find – connect only through an encrypted channel.

Scrutinize Attachments, and Be Cognizant of Tracking Links

With attachments, it is advisable to only open those that you trust. However, it might always be possible to verify a sender. In such a situation, it is vital to remember that the pdf, doc, and xls are the file formats which tend to be most infected.

Either open these files in a virtual machine or take advantage of any in-build tool your Webmail provides to open such files.

With regards to links, avoid clicking on the links and instead, copy the address and open in a new tab. That will help you avoid the tracking code embedded in the link by companies or individuals designed to track how many people opened the email.

Also, if the link is designed to send you to a phishing site, by copying it and scrutinizing it further, you might avoid the phishing attack.

Whenever you are careful with tracking links, and you scrutinize attachments, then you have a higher chance of avoiding malware and phishing attacks.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are the foremost deterrent to an attack due to weak passwords. As an individual or a business, insist on strong passwords; preferably longer than 12 characters, and composed of letters, numbers and special characters.

In addition, each login should have a unique password. You should never use the same password for two or more accounts.

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5 Tips for Improving Your Workplace Security

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Did you know 2 million workers report being victims of workplace violence every year?

As an employer, if your workplace has never experienced any insecurity or violence cases, it’s easy to let your guard down. A person with criminal intent can break in and cause harm, a client can assault an employee, or your workers can turn on each other.

This is why it’s vital to take your workplace security seriously. Here is a guide on the steps you need to take.

1. Enforce Policies That Promote Security

Your company policies go a long way in keeping the workplace safe and secure.

As such, one of the first things you should do is to audit your existing security policies, identify gaps, and make the necessary changes. For instance, if you’ve been hiring workers without doing a criminal background check, it’s time to make the practice a company policy.

Also, make it your policy to conduct regular security awareness training. This way, your workers will stay up to date on security matters.

2. Implement Access Control

Yes, open office plans are the jam these days, but this doesn’t mean everyone should have access to every room in the office. The best way to prevent access to sensitive areas such as the server room is to deploy an access control system.

Depending on your system, you could issue your workers with keyless cards. This makes it simpler to remotely allocate access credentials and manage who has access to where.

3. Install Alarms and Surveillance Systems

Alarms and surveillance cameras are common in residential settings but not so much in commercial spaces. In fact, only 1 in 7 U.S. businesses (14 percent) have alarms and video surveillance systems.

Sure, the cost of security systems installation and maintenance can be high for a small business, but the return on investment is worth it. These systems not only discourage criminal activity but also make it easier to resolve insecurity-related issues. You can, for instance, use CCTV footage to investigate office theft.

4. Hire Security Guards

If your workplace covers an entire building, it’s not just enough to install alarms and CCTV cameras. Hire security guards too.

You see, guards are your first line of defense against criminal attacks, and they can always step in to de-escalate physical conflicts between employees and other security incidents in the office.

If you don’t own the building that houses your workplace, work with its management to get security guards on site.

5. Make Structural Change to Your Premises

Does the structural nature of your workplace building expose your office to security risks?

For example, if your office has clear windows facing a public area, prying eyes can look in and scan for valuables. Fortunately, there’s a quick solution to this vulnerability. Just hire a commercial window tinting service to safeguard the privacy of your people.

Another structural element to look into is the quality of your access doors. Are they reinforced to prevent unauthorized entry? If not, you can make reinforcements or install new high security doors.

Ramp Up Your Workplace Security

A secure workplace doesn’t only keep your workers, clients and physical assets safe. It also strengthens your brand, increases employee loyalty, and improves productivity.

Want your business to reap these benefits? Implement the workplace security tips fleshed out above and wait for the results!

And as you get your business’ physical security in order, don’t neglect IT security.

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