The digital age era is here and we are its citizens. Our lives are increasingly reliant on technology as it continues to advance, and so too do the threats that come with cybersecurity. With the rise of hacking and other cyber-related crimes, it is now more important than ever before that we take the necessary steps to protect our data and devices from malicious "actors".
“Cyber criminals are very resourceful in this digital age, through spreading computer viruses or malware and theft of intellectual property,” said Luwin Govender, Senior Strategist at Nerdware, a leading software and marketing services company that brings brands closer to new marketing experiences. For this reason, Govender added, securing online information is now a standardised need for companies.
But what exactly is cybersecurity and what should you know about it?
Kaspersky defines cybersecurity as the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks. Cybersecurity is also known as information technology security or electronic information security. It involves different techniques such as monitoring for network intrusions and malware, encrypting sensitive data, patching software vulnerabilities, and educating users about security best practices.
Why is cybersecurity a threat right now?
Data breaches are expensive security breaches and can have a negative impact on your business reputation resulting in customers losing faith in an organisation’s capability of protecting their data. Last year, Dischem experienced a data breach which exposed more than 3.6 million customer records, through research we were not able to confirm if a ransom was paid. This said the danger posed by cyber criminals has grown significantly in recent years due to the increasing sophistication of their techniques.
As technology advances and new exploits are developed, these cybercriminals or hackers have become more adept at finding new ways to breach security systems, gain access to sensitive data, or compromise entire networks with financial gain or leverage being their driving factor. Furthermore, with so much data stored online, there is a greater incentive for cybercriminals to target organisations and employees with weak security measures.
How companies can protect themselves
Businesses need to ensure they have robust cybersecurity measures in place to protect themselves from potential threats. This includes,
- Regular web application scanning to detect vulnerabilities.
- Implementing strong password update policies that require employees to use complex passwords regularly.
- Investing in secure communication tools, such as two-factor authentication and encryption software for storing sensitive customer or financial information.
- Cyber liability insurance covers any losses related to malicious acts such as data breaches or ransomware attacks.
How employees can protect themselves
Employees can also take specific steps to better protect themselves from cyber threats including:
- Updating their laptop, tablet or mobile phone when application updates become available.
- Using strong passwords. (Here are some tips on how to create a strong password from Norton.)
- Avoiding opening suspicious emails or links sent via email.
- Backing up all personal files.
- Enabling two-factor authentication for online accounts whenever possible.
- Installing anti-virus and anti-malware software.
- Disabling auto-run features on USB drives.
- Refraining from clicking on pop-up advertisements.
- Not connecting devices to unsecured networks like public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Not downloading programmes from untrusted websites. (Google talks about how to tell if a site is trusted or not.)
- Disabling remote desktop if it is not needed.
- Using secure messaging apps when sending private information over messaging services like SMS or WhatsApp.
"Cybersecurity is just as important as keeping your bank PIN safe,” concluded Govender.
Don't let cyber threats compromise your business. Get in touch with Nerdware today to discover more about our cybersecurity services and how we can assist you in protecting your business from cyber-attacks.