When did you last review your cyber-security strategy at the office or at home? If it wasn’t in the last three to six months, it’s time to get cracking on it. Why? Because cyber-security is constantly evolving. It must do so to fight against the onslaught of cyber-crime.
Securing Your Accounts
Let’s look at a simple example here.
Twenty years ago, a secure password consisted of at least six characters. If
you mixed numbers and letters, you were fine. Fast forward to today, and security awareness trainers recommend using a
far more complex password to secure your system against hackers.
The ideal password today is:
- 16 or more characters long
- Randomly generated rather than
spelling actual words
- A mixture of special characters,
numbers, and upper- and lower-case letters.
Now, before you groan in agony at having
to learn such a complicated password, consider the risks if you don’t.
For a small to medium business, a data
breach could be disastrous. As you’ll see in the infographic below, it’s
something that six out of ten businesses don’t recover from. It’s not just the
actual financial loss from the breach that’s an issue.
More damaging is the reputation risk. You’ll lose the trust of your clients, and new clients will think twice about dealing with you. To add insult to injury, strict privacy laws could result in harsh fines being implemented against you. Add the potential for civil suits as well, and the cost of the breach intensifies even more.
Securing Websites and Data with encryption
It’s not just enough to protect your
business’s computer systems. You also have to ensure that your website is
adequately protected. Start off by using SSL technology to protect your site.
This tech protects your site by encrypting the information on it.
If you’re collecting any information from clients, particularly credit card information, an SSL certificate is essential. To understand why, you need to understand that the internet consists of thousands of servers. Data is passed from one server to the next.
If your data isn’t encrypted, it can be
accessed by anyone along the way. Any server that it passes through could be
used as an access point.
How does SSL tech prevent this from
happening? With SSL tech, there is a public and a private key. You’ll have to
set up a Certificate Signing Request from your server. This will lead to you
being assigned a public and private key.
Your data is then encrypted. It’ll still
travel from server to server. The difference now, though, is that the only
server with a matching key is yours. No other server will thus be able to read
the information. The same technology is what email clients use to secure your
But, there are other reasons that your
site must employ SSL security. For one, Big Daddy Google insists on it. If your
site doesn’t have a valid security certificate, Google will warn users that it
might not be safe to visit. And, to add insult to injury, you’ll rank lower in
search engine results as well.
What’s more, internet users have become a
lot savvier over the last few years. They want to know that the site they’re
entrusting their personal details to is a legitimate one. Not having an SSL
could make them decide to look elsewhere. So, to sum up, get your SSL
certificate if you don’t already have one.
In the end, it’s your own data that’s at risk. How secure is your data really? Is your anti-virus software completely up to date? What about your operating system and other programs on your computer? Have you encrypted files that contain personal information? Want even more tips on how to beef up your cyber-security strategy? Check out the below infographic for interesting insights and techniques to secure yourself online.
We hope you found the insights in the above infographic useful. Concerned about phishing and other online threats? Learn how to protect your small business against phishing.
Note: This is a guest blog post by a contributing author, Webnames.ca takes utmost care to verify the accuracy and substantiate the contents of every post but does not take on any liability in these posts. If you would like to make a complaint, please get in touch with us via Twitter.