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
- 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 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 type of information from visitors or clients, particularly credit card information, an SSL certificate is absolutely essential. To understand why, you first need to understand that the internet consists of millions of servers with data being passed from one server to the next.
If your data isn’t encrypted, it can be accessed by anyone eavesdropping in along the way. Any server that it passes through could be used as an access point.
How does an SSL certificate prevent this from happening? SSL encryption makes use of a public and a private key, two cryptographic codes consenting basically of a long string of random numbers. After setting up a Certificate Signing Request from your server, you get assigned a public and private key. Your data is then encrypted. It’ll still travel from server to server, however, the difference now 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 emails.
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, so ask yourself, how secure is your data really? As part of your cybersecurity strategy, regularly ask yourself the following questions: 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.