Get the Most out of Cybersecurity Awareness Month

First finger of a person's hand is touching a hologram of a security lock while other numbers and data holograms are floating nearby.Certain months of the year are given unique designations to help bring awareness to an important issue. For instance, October was designated Cybersecurity Awareness Month by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2004.

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of DHS, has designated this year’s campaign theme to be, “See Yourself in Cyber,” to help emphasize that cybersecurity is mostly about people: individuals like you who need both protection in our digital world and the knowledge and tools to protect others.

But how do you go about improving cybersecurity for yourself and others, such as your family, clients, employees, and coworkers? Use October to evaluate and consider implementing some of the following security suggestions if you haven’t already:

1. Don’t Be a Victim of Phishing

We all get spam emails, and sometimes it slips past the spam filter and may look like a legitimate email from a company you just happen to have recently done business with. Phishing emails are dependent on the probability that of the millions of trash emails they send out, a few will slip past the security net and fool an unsuspecting recipient. If all works in their favor, that recipient will click on a link, open an attachment, or respond with private information without even thinking about it.

Phishing really is just like fishing. The cybercriminal needs just a small percentage of “fish” to respond to the thousands of emails they send in order to be successful. Don’t be that fish! Before clicking or responding to any emails, look for oddities, errors, and hover over links to see if the URL preview shows the website URL of the company listed in the email. Any indication of something “fishy”—or simply unusual—should cause you to report the email and delete it.

2. Keep Your Software Current

Yes, software updates can be time consuming and full upgrades can be costly, but the longer you delay, the longer you leave the door open to cyberattacks.

Software updates were created because experts know that criminals are constantly finding weaknesses in security software, so to stay ahead of them or respond when a weakness is exposed, software developers regularly update and patch their software’s security protocols. Whenever possible, choose “Automatic Updates” so you can save critical time and stay current with the latest security patches.

3. Password Protect Yourself and Your Business

One of the annoyances many of us share is trying to remember your password at the moment it’s needed. After all, there are so many passwords to remember! So why change them regularly? Because not doing so will quickly move you from annoyance to disaster is having a cyberthief easily figure out your password because it’s too simple, can be guessed from your social media posts, or if it has been the same one for the past several years and may have been part of a larger data breach.

But don’t worry; there’s a solution. Quality password-management software can do the following for you and your business:

  • Generate complex passwords on demand
  • Encrypt and store usernames and passwords
  • Fill in the username and password for each saved site
  • Enable you to share passwords needed by multiple employees and keep others private

4. Consider Data Vaulting

Techopedia describes data vaulting as a business continuity and disaster recovery strategy where a copy of each data backup is stored in a place that is physically isolated from primary backup and production environments. To protect against theft, hardware failures, and disasters such as fire, flooding, and earthquakes, the safest strategy is to back up data to the cloud as well as storing physical backup media in a local data vault.

Using a data vault service to rotate your backup media and keep it safe and secure allows you to resume business at another location in case disaster strikes your current facility. Remember that restoring data over the internet can be an incredibly slow process, holding your business back when you need to get up and running again right away.

5. Benefit from Offsite Management of Scanned Documents

Using the professional services of a records management company that can scan your documents and store them digitally improves the security and protection of your files while still making them very accessible to you and your business. Your files are still keyword-searchable with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and stored using a secured facility.

6. Don’t Discard or Leave Retired Hard Drives Unattended

Your replaced hard drives and electronic devices have private information on them that needs to be protected. “Deleting” the files before discarding the drive doesn’t remove the data; it just removes the directory that points to it, but all your data is still in there. Cyberthieves are well aware that “erasing data” is a common practice, so they target hard drives and electronics that haven’t been physically destroyed. A reputable shredding company will provide hard drive and electronic shredding to ensure information is completely unretrievable and will also recycle the shredded materials.

7. Put This Information into Motion

Some of these practices are easy to implement, while others would benefit from the help of outside professionals. Now that you’re aware of the cybersecurity pitfalls and solutions, consider partnering with a local, reputable records management company to help you protect your information, whether digital or hard copy, and destroy it at the end of its lifecycle.

At Pacific Records, our company history dates back to 1856. We are deeply rooted in this community, serving Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, Fresno, and the Central Valley with a full suite of records and information management services. For more information, simply give us a call at 800-685-9034 or complete the form on this page. Our friendly experts are standing by to help you achieve your information security goals.

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