Cyber security is essential, whether in a work setting or in the comfort of your own home. In the modern world it is arguably as important as having functioning locks for your front door or shutting your windows when you go out. However, many do not see it as the integral consideration it should be. Bearing in mind the volume and importance of data that is stored online nowadays, without adequate levels of cyber security you’re leaving yourself open and vulnerable to cyber-attacks by cyber criminals.
In this blog series we will look closer at why cyber security should be at the top of your list of concerns (both when working and in your spare time) and we will also explore things to look out for, measures to take to avoid problems, and details about Grapevine’s new Cyber Security Training Platform to ensure your employees are educated and prepared for whatever cyber space can throw at them.
Cyber threats have no standard characteristics and come in many different and unique forms. Cyber security – contrary to popular belief – isn’t all about spending thousands of pounds on the best technical solutions (as much as this can be beneficial). We can also protect ourselves and our data just by following a few simple security procedures. In this digital age – with the rapid acceleration in the capabilities of technology – we find our systems open to a whole host of threats (each with their own name and set of problems). Let’s take a look at the foundations you need in place in order to be best prepared for cyber-attacks.
Cyber Security – The foundations
- Data Encryption
I thought that’s what the criminals are trying to do?
Yes, you are correct – that is exactly what some cyber criminals are trying to do, but if you encrypt your data first the hackers can’t access that data to encrypt it themselves. As confusing as it sounds, encrypting your own data is different to it being encrypted by a third party. Data encryption works by essentially scrambling the readable text of your files and documents, so they can only be read by the person who holds the ‘key’. It is therefore essential to do this before the criminals do.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at why data encryption is a key foundation in your cyber security.
Hacking is serious business – It is becoming more and more common for ‘hobbyist’ hackers to attack businesses; modern tools allow them that ability even though they usually lack the technical prowess to perform a successful attack. With whole generations learning the skills to hacking your business, the threat to your data becoming a potential target is on the rise.
Compliance – Ensuring you comply is essential no matter the sector you are in, but, depending on the industry, certain acts and regulations now enforce encryption as a compliance in securing public data and information held and distributed online.
- Data backups
Data backups are essential – if all other cyber defences and preventative measures fail, your data backup is ‘the last man standing’ in your fight against an attack. It provides you with the means to recover from the impact of the attack and continue trading with minimum downtime.
The industry standard best practice approach to the backup of your data is the 3-2-1 rule.
3 – Copies of your data
2 – Separate forms of ‘media’ (two alternative types of storage device or backup service)
1 – Backup entirely offsite from your local network.
By using the 3-2-1 rule you are lowering the risk of loss if any part of the process fails.
- Password security
A password acts as the gatekeeper to your entire digital world – not having one, as we said earlier, is like leaving your front door open – you wouldn’t even think of doing that, so why would you when in the digital world?
“All my passwords are the same, so there’s no way I’m going to forget it” is a statement we hear quite often but this could be just as detrimental to your web services as not having one, as using a single password across them all may put your entire digital life at risk. Should the shopping website or a social media platform, for example, suffer a cyber-attack, your password will be exposed – and quite likely posted on the dark web where it will be available to any cybercriminal.
You will have allowed them easy access to not only that digital avenue but your entire digital landscape, meaning a hacker doesn’t even have to hack your digital footprint. They can simply attempt to log in to web services critical to both your business and you personally, such as your email and even bank account – giving them an ‘all access pass’ to your systems with little to no effort.
- Anti-malware measures
As will be explored in the next and last blog in the series, Malware is a real threat to your cyber security. Anti-Malware software is essential to combat Malware.
You need to install Anti-Malware on all computers and laptops at home and in the office. ‘Some of the more popular operating systems include it for free’, you say. No need to worry then, right? Wrong! These are often basic and offer very limited levels of protection.
By far the most important action to take is to educate your employees on steps they can take to protect themselves when working online. This is essential so that your employees can act as another barricade in the defence of your digital world.
In the remaining blog in the series, we will explore individual threats to your systems, how the foundations of cyber security can aid in defending against them, and how educating your employees can make for a secure, compliant, and successful working environment.
Your cybersecurity specialists
Are you concerned your systems are not cyber secure? Is your team properly educated on cybersecurity? Need some help? Grapevine can guide you to a future in which you no longer need to be concerned about the security of your digital landscape. We also offer our own Cyber Security Training Platform, which can be used to train your team and give them the confidence they need to ensure everything possible is being done to protect both themselves and your business when online. Our years of experience ensure we are primed and ready with all the tools needed to ensure a top-quality service, now and into the future. Contact our team and let us start our journey together today.