Often, when we hear the term “cybersecurity,” we think of major companies, the steps they take to protect sensitive data, or more likely, how that security was breached and now customer information is at risk. And while we expect that big business will do everything possible to protect our information, we might not always take similar precautions on our own.
However, many of the same security principles used by businesses apply to consumers, albeit on a smaller scale. There are a lot of lessons you can learn from the approaches that major companies take to cybersecurity, lessons that can help you keep your data safe and out of the hands of hackers and thieves. Here are a few that you can apply today.
#1 Have Knowledgeable Tech Support on Call
One advantage that businesses have when it comes to cybersecurity, or any IT issue, is a team of professionals on staff who have expert-level knowledge about how to protect sensitive networks and data from unauthorized access, as well as managing any other problem that pops up. Consider your own experiences at work: When something isn’t working right on your computer, your first step is usually a call to the IT department for help. So why should it be any different at home? Instead of getting frustrated or trying fixes that only make the problem worse, subscribing to premium home tech support services will give you the same level of expert support and assistance that you have at work. If you have a security issue or question, tech support will help you solve the problem quickly and reduce the risk of a serious breach.
#2 Know What Information is Out There
Data breaches happen all the time. When they do, are you prepared to act? If you don’t have a strong grasp on your digital footprint, you could be putting yourself at risk. One thing that businesses with excellent security do well is knowing exactly what information is vulnerable, and where it is located. You need to do the same. This means keeping a running list of all your online accounts and passwords, knowing which sites have stored credit card information, and limiting the amount of personal information you share. This way, if you do suspect a breach, you know exactly what you need to do to protect your information and won’t be taken by surprise.
#3 Have a Recovery Plan in Place
In the world of enterprise security, it’s not a question of if a data breach will occur, but when the breach will take place and how much damage it will cause. You need to take the same approach and do everything you can to prevent a security breach but also be prepared to respond when it does occur. For example, are you running regular backups on your machines and storing them securely? Do you have a secure list of your accounts and password information? Do you have a source for immediate help if your machine is infected with a virus or malware? Having a plan to restore your devices and limit exposure of your data will prevent you from panicking if something does go wrong and allow you to take quick action.
#4 Practice Good Password Management
You might roll your eyes every time your work computer requires you to change your password, but there’s a good reason for those policies. Password management, which includes regularly changing credentials, following best practices for passwords (i.e., 8 characters, no dictionary words, etc.) and reminders about keeping passwords secure are a proven way to help keep accounts and information secure. Use a password manager at home to apply the same principles you use at work to your personal accounts to better secure your accounts. Avoid reusing the same password for multiple accounts, don’t share your passwords, and change them every few months to prevent problems if they all into the wrong hands.
#5 Install Patches Regularly
Finally, one of the chief responsibilities of any IT security team in a business is to ensure that the corporate network and all of the computers and software accessing it are up-to-date with the latest patches and updates. It might feel like a pain to stop what you’re doing and wait for your operating system or software to update, but don’t automatically delay the updates indefinitely. Many data breaches stem from vulnerabilities that are left unpatched and failing to keep your computer updated will put you at risk.
At the end of the day, the principles of cybersecurity are the same for both individuals and businesses. Staying on top of risks and taking steps to reduce your exposure will help keep your information safe, no matter what happens outside of your control.