Whether you are a business with a lot of employees or a professional working from a home office, information security is an essential element of your operation. The rising number of cyberattacks targeting everyone – businesses and individuals alike – is a clear sign that information security is something that needs to be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, security is not always at the top of the priority list, especially for businesses and professionals that are operating on limited resources. After all, protecting sensitive data and implementing security measures are expensive things to do, right? Well, not really. These next several tips and tricks will help you get started with better information security without breaking the bank.
Start with Encryption
The simplest thing you can do to protect your information is encrypting your data. There are a lot of encryption tools that can be used across multiple platforms, but you may not have to go that far if you are just getting started. Operating systems now come with built-in file encryption as a feature, and all you have to do to get started is activate it.
Encryption using a private key is even more secure. You can define your own encryption key and the encrypted files will only be readable when the private key is present. This adds a layer of security on top of the basic encryption. Even when the files get stolen, it would be impossible to decrypt them without the correct key.
Establish a Secure Network
Next, you want to make sure that your network is secure, especially when you have a lot of devices connected to it. Not all devices have the same level of security. Some IoT devices and smart gadgets, for instance, are notoriously prone to hacks due to the lack of sufficient security measures. You must know how to secure your machine and protect your network to remain safe when using these devices.
This article details how you can create a safer network. You don’t need to be an IT professional to understand the basic principles of securing your local network. As you go through each point, you will have your network less and less vulnerable to external attacks. As an added bonus, you will also have a stronger, more reliable network to utilize.
Know What You Share
The next thing you want to do is identifying how you share your information. Over 40% of data breaches actually happened due to the oversharing of personal details and sensitive files. When you share information about your birthday, your location, or the name of your pet, you are basically sharing information that can be used to reverse-engineer your password.
The same is true when files get shared. A simple upload to Google Cloud is harmless but misconfiguring the Sharing settings could result in sensitive business (or personal) files being accessible by anyone with the correct link. You should always be more careful when sharing through cloud services and only share files to specific recipients.
Keep Devices Up to Date
The next tip is actually very straightforward: keep all of your devices up to date. Simple enough, isn’t it? Unfortunately, this too is a tip that many professionals and business owners still neglect to implement. The recent series of ransomware attacks is a good example of how vulnerable devices with older operating systems can be.
Updates usually carry security patches, so it is easy to see how they are important for the security of your information. You will not only get the latest features and tools but also better protection against malicious attacks. While you are at it, make sure you also keep your antivirus and other security apps up to date.
Have a Backup Routine
Establishing a backup routine is the next thing you want to do. Make sure you maintain multiple copies of important files for maximum security. In the event of a data loss due to theft or hardware failure, you can easily restore your files and resume operations. For professionals, you are also protecting yourself from a catastrophic loss of client files.
A backup routine is something that only need to be set up once. The routine will automatically detect changes to your files and perform the routine to back them up. You can use cloud backup solutions or turn to offline backups. For maximum security, use both. Offline backups in particular let you restore your files faster and more conveniently.
Let’s not forget that information security also depends highly on managing access to sensitive files, the network, and the entire environment. You cannot expect to keep your files secure if anyone can use your computer and have access to those files. Without proper access management, you have a vulnerable system regardless of the security measures you put in place.
This is where logging and good access management come in handy. When using a cloud solution, for instance, you want to make sure that team members have their own credentials, and that activities on the cloud environment are fully logged. When data does get stolen, it is much easier to identify the cause of the leak.
Invest in Security Suites
At this point, you are in the territory of strengthening your security. With the basics covered, it is time to consider investing in more advanced solutions for maintaining information security. A security suite designed to provide devices with a firewall, an antivirus, and anti malware is a good start. You have more granular control over these components while keeping the whole system integrated.
A security suite will also be used across multiple devices in most cases. You can have a native iOS or Android app protecting your mobile devices while the desktop version of the suite runs on your laptop or desktop computer. The combination allows for better, more holistic protection and significantly minimizes your attack surface.
With these tips and tricks, getting started with enhancing the security of your files and information doesn’t have to be difficult at all. Cover the basics first, make sure you have a secure environment for storing data and continue adding more security measures for maximum protection.
There is more to discuss on Information Security which we will cover more soon.