Five ways you can improve the cybersecurity of your business

Tips from Be Brilliant! Marketing and MSW Interactive Designs, LLC

As technology grows and more and more business and personal information is stored online, it is more important than ever to have a cyber defense plan. Here are five tips from Bryon McCartney, managing partner of Be Brilliant! Marketing, and Erin Burdette, the director of regional business development at MSW Interactive Designs, LLC, to help keep your information safe:

  1. Enable two-factor login for all accounts that allow it. Gmail/Google Apps, iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook, GoDaddy, Buffer and many other services support two-factor ID. However, to be clear, enabling two-factor ID is not a magic solution. There are many ways hackers can gain access to your accounts. Also be sure to use unique passwords for all of your accounts. Investing in a password management application like 1Password is also highly recommended. 1Password and similar apps help you to manage your passwords in a protected ‘vault’. They can also be used to randomly generate and save new passwords.
  1. Your passwords should be a minimum of 16-20 characters and include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters, such as punctuation. Following these tips will greatly reduce the likelihood that hackers can access your accounts and by using unique passwords, you’ll contain the damage to one account.
  1. Protect your email security. Email is probably your most at-risk account. Imagine if someone gained control of your email — they could quickly scan your emails and learn that you have several other accounts using your compromised email address. From there, it’s a simple process of going to each of those website login screens and then clicking ‘forgot password.’ The password access is then sent to your compromised account and the hacker has access to it. The lesson here is that your email account needs to be protected at all costs. Review the security settings for your account and change your password on a regular basis. Use two-factor identification, especially for email, and if your email service does not support, change your email provider. It may be a major hassle to do so, but it will be much worse if a hacker compromises your account.
  1. Install a reputable anti-virus program that automatically scans downloads and websites, and an anti-MalWare program that will scan your computer once a week. Back up your computer often and install security updates for your operating system as soon as they become available.
  2. Finally, think before you click. Never click on a link in an email that you are not 100% sure of where that link goes to. If something looks suspicious, be sure to check the SENT FROM address before clicking that link to login to your account, for example. If you are still not sure, then delete the email and go check the account without clicking that link. Use common sense and be careful.