Cybersecurity is a year-round concern, but once you have a good solution it’s easy to think, “That’s good enough.”  Unfortunately, the longer a system stays the same, the easier it is for a savvy criminal to break into.  It’s a good habit to change various security protocols every few months, but it’s also smart to go over your entire system at least once a year.  October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means it’s the perfect time for a full systems review.  Staying ahead of the criminals can be a full-time job, but a few key things will ensure you don’t find yourself or your company the victim of a disastrous data breach.

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Password Checkup

It’s recommended to change your passwords—all of your passwords—every few months. This makes it more difficult for hackers who have managed to get ahold of any to make use of them.  Having a secure password is just as important. A short, random jumble of characters such as “aK1s#tfR*” might seem like a great idea, but a password cracking program can breach it in just a few minutes. In addition to being nearly impossible to remember.  A straightforward phrase, such as a movie quote or a song lyric is much easier to remember, and much more difficult to crack.  “MyNameIsInigoMontoya,” for example, is certainly easier to remember, and would take several decades for even the best programs to breach.

It’s recommended to change your passwords—all of your passwords—every few months. This makes it more difficult for hackers who have managed to get ahold of any to make use of them.  Having a secure password is just as important; a short, random jumble of characters such as “aK1s#tfR*” might seem like a great idea, but a password cracking program can breach it in just a few minutes, in addition to being nearly impossible to remember.  A straightforward phrase, such as a movie quote or a song lyric is much easier to remember, and much more difficult to crack.  “MyNameIsInigoMontoya,” for example, is certainly easier to remember, and would take several decades for even the best programs to breach.

Data Backup

A data breach because of a lost password is certainly one of the worst things that can happen to a business, but it’s not the only thing. Ransomware can effectively hold your computer systems hostage, encrypting all of your data unless a criminal is paid a sum of money, and without an effective backup this could lead to the loss of thousands of even millions of dollars.  There’s also the threat of disasters such as floods, hurricanes, or fires that could destroy a company’s computer systems.  That’s why it’s important to have an off-site backup of your data that’s updated regularly, such as a storage cloud, which distributes your data among many servers to make it tougher to compromise and easier to protect from disaster.

Dark Web

Even if you think your passwords and data are secure, something can still slip through the cracks, and it can be hard to know until you find all of your business’s data leaked all across the internet. Regular checkups on websites like HaveIBeenPWNed.com can check for compromised email credentials, but it’s a good idea to have an independent cybersecurity company look into whether or not your business information is for sale on one of countless other websites where cybercriminals frequent.

These are only a few things you should keep in mind with the holidays coming up, but cybersecurity is something you should always be aware of when you’re using technology.  Even if you have your own solutions, it can be helpful to have a yearly checkup from an outside security expert.  If you have any concerns about your own cybersecurity, sign up today for a free consultation.

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