As an employee, you are the first line of defence against cyberattacks. This digital age that we find ourselves is a trying time, particularly when it comes to businesses. Even as technology constantly evolves to stop hackers and attackers from gaining access to company data, so they advance their techniques, finding new ways to infiltrate systems.
And the majority of cyber attacks start with a single employee.
It could be a phishing mail. It could be a friend or colleague who sends an unexpected mail with a link or attachment that seems perfectly harmless. Sometimes emails have nothing to do with it, and attackers have used scripts to guess your user credentials.
Whatever the case may be, the more prepared and knowledgeable you are, the better equipped you will be to safeguard your business and the information it stores. That’s why we’ve put together these cybersecurity tips for employees, to help you keep your business as secure as you can.
Cybersecurity Tips for Employees
These 9 security awareness tips for employees to follow will help you to keep your own devices and communications secure, and help your company stay secure in turn:
- Keep Your Apps Updated
Outdated apps often have vulnerabilities that attackers can use to gain access to your devices. Keeping your apps and software regularly updated will mean that you have access to the latest security features that they have to offer.
- Create Strong Passwords
Most cyberattacks don’t actually involve a single person physically typing in passwords until they get one right. Rather, they have machines that run scripts, capable of guessing tens of thousands of passwords every minute. This is why having strong passwords is essential. Some of the most common passwords quickly guessed by scripts include variations of usernames, birthdays, the word “password” and the numbers “12345” in order.
Since strong passwords are often random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols, you may also want to use a password manager to keep track of them all. Most browsers have in-built password managers that you can use, for example, or you could use identity and access management tools to keep track of your login credentials.
Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication
Sometimes even having a strong password isn’t enough. That’s why one of the most impactful cybersecurity tips for employees that we always recommend is adding an extra layer of security, particularly when it comes to your business-related login details. Multi-factor authentication means that when you log in from a new device, you’ll be sent a security code, either via email, text message or through an app on your phone, that you will need to enter along with your password. This way, if an attacker gains access to your password, it’s unlikely that they’ll also have access to your phone, and will be stopped in their tracks.
- Staying Connected Isn’t Always Best
Public Wi-Fi is incredibly handy for keeping yourself connected, but it’s also extremely insecure. Most public networks don’t have strict security measures in place, and they are often monitored by attackers, who use them to gather credentials from unwitting users. It’s better to never access business resources while on public Wi-Fi. But, if you do urgently need to check your work email, we suggest using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, to stop your interactions from being monitored.
- Avoid Clicking on Anything You Don’t Recognise
This includes emails from unfamiliar senders, links that direct you to unknown websites, attachments that don’t quite feel right, and those dreaded pop-ups that some sites throw at you. When it comes to email security, you can never be too safe. While you may not always know the business-related people who email you, be sure to read through emails thoroughly before clicking on links that they may contain. And if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Put Up a Firewall
Firewalls are an essential piece of security for preventing unauthorised access to your devices. As soon as an email, app, or piece of software tries to do something that seems suspicious, your firewall will let you know, and will often even stop the app or sandbox it to ensure that it can’t access the rest of your system. Helping your firewall realise what is legitimate traffic to and from your machine, and what counts as suspicious activity, can take time. But the resulting security that it offers is well worthwhile.
- Keep Your Systems Secure
Every device that you use to access your business resources is a potential avenue for attackers to use. This is why it’s one of the essential cybersecurity tips for employees that you keep your devices safe and secure. Make sure that you are using a solution like Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection, or even an up-to-date anti-virus. These will secure your devices, and keep your business safe in turn.
- Store Copies of Your Data
Whether you’re working on the cloud, or are storing data on your desktop or laptop, make sure that you have a backup of everything you’re working on. Losing a document that you’ve been working on may seem like the least of your worries, but ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals hold company data hostage, are legitimate concerns that can cost a company millions of dollars (or tens of millions of Rands) each time they occur. Making sure that your data is backed can save your business a good deal of panic if they do fall victim to a ransomware attack, and will ensure that your documents are easy to restore at a moment’s notice.
- Keep Yourself Up-to-Date
Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and you need to make sure that you know what threats are out there. Prevention is better than cure, and keeping yourself up to date on the latest technologies and the latest attacks will make you that much more prepared, and help you to keep your business protected.
Following these 9 simple cybersecurity tips for employees can help you to safeguard your business against attack, but there is always more to learn. At Solid Systems, we provide articles that offer insights into the latest technology and cybersecurity trends. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more about how you can help in your company’s cyber security efforts. After all, these cyber security awareness tips for employees are just the start of keeping your business safe.