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The 5 basic steps to protecting your data from cyberattacks

Secure My Data

In August 2016, Internet technology company Yahoo revealed that it had been harmfully affected by one of the biggest data breaches in history. At least 500 million user accounts were stolen, including personal information such as names, emails, phone numbers and passwords. Earlier in 2016, a large payroll company suffered a breach, where hackers stole tax and salary data from nearly 640,000 companies. These are just two examples of how devastating cyberattacks can be. Unfortunately, any organisation, regardless of size or industry, is a potential target of cybercrime. To make sure you are not the next in line, here are 5 tips to protect your data from cyberattacks.

1. Think before you click

A large number of cyberattacks take place via so-called phishing messages. These messages are spread via email or online in banners or on social media. At first glance, they seem reliable but once you click on one of the URLs or attachments, a hacker gains access to your device and network. You should therefore be careful when you see a banner or open an email when you are unsure why it is addressed to you.

2. Introduce a password policy

It may sound like a cliche, but just a small effort may cause a huge difference. First of all, make sure not to use passwords that any outsider could easily guess. A bad example is your company name, followed by a number. Instead, use a combination of words and numbers that is completely random, but still easy to remember as a user. In addition, make sure passwords are changed every few months and that employees do not reuse a password for different features.

3. Update your applications and systems

A major weak spot in an organisation’s infrastructure is not updating systems and applications. Programs that are not being updated are easily accessed by hackers as the security is not optimised. Check if applications are automatically updating and whether the applications that are not being used anymore are removed.

4. Backup your most valuable data

Too many companies believe that a data breach will not happen to them. Unfortunately, each and every organisation is a potential target. Hackers have become very professional and are able to bypass basic security software in the blink of an eye. A professional backup solution is the only way to guarantee that your business critical data does not get lost.

5. Encrypt connection to public Wi-Fi

Besides their personal desk at the office, employees nowadays work from home or in public spaces with Wi-Fi, such as train stations, airports, cafés, hotels and so on. It is difficult to keep control over the online behaviour of employees in these public locations. Besides, the Wi-Fi is often poorly secured. A VPN tool creates an encrypted connection over a less secured networks. This way, you provide your employees with secure access to any public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Whether it is a link in an email, a forgotten update or an unsecured connection, cyber-attackers will always try to find ways to gain access to your data. The basis to every organisation’s security is following up on tips like the ones mentioned above. For more information about securing your data, download the eBook ‘The essential guide to a cyberattack’.

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