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Why Cyber Security Matters

Cyber security, also known as cybersecurity or IT security, refers to the protection of computer networks, programs and data from attacks such as spam, viruses and phishing schemes. It’s more important than ever to keep up with cyber security due to the prevalence of hackers and identity thieves trying to gain access to your private information by any means necessary. This guide will help you protect yourself and your business from these threats.

Compromising computers
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of cyber security is compromising computers. This includes everything from botnets to Crypto-Locker. The potential damage caused by these kinds of attacks is massive, so you can’t afford to ignore them. You need to know how to properly secure your computers against these types of attacks and what precautions you can take in order to prevent compromise. Here are a few things you should do

1) run up-to-date antivirus software;

2) keep all operating systems and applications patched;

3) make sure any connected devices have firewalls enabled;

4) use strong passwords;

5) never click on links or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. If you follow these steps, it will be much harder for cyber criminals to compromise your computer network.

Protecting devices
Locking your computer and mobile devices with a password not only protects them from being accessed by unauthorized people, but it also makes it so that if something goes wrong you can wipe all of your data off and start fresh.

Cyber Security and Digital Data Protection Concept. Icon graphic interface showing secure firewall technology for online data access defense against hacker, virus and insecure information for privacy.

This means that when companies have experienced breaches, they’ve been able to remove hackers’ access and get back to normal operations quicker. If something ever does happen to your device, act quickly. Look for a find my phone or find my computer feature on your operating system. Take advantage of these features immediately if you find yourself in a situation where you believe someone has gained access to one of your devices.

Maintaining data integrity
It’s possible to protect against malicious attacks on your data, no matter how you store it. But with so many options out there, which ones are worth your time and money? Here’s a look at some of your cyber security options, from basic to advanced. The lower down you go on our list, though, the more likely you are to encounter problems—like data loss or malware infections—and give up before your information is truly safe. So if you’re looking for cyber security, start at step one: encryption. Encryption scrambles your files in such a way that only authorized users can access them. If someone tries to get into your files without permission, they’ll just see an encrypted mess instead of anything useful (unless they have access to decryption software). A wide range of applications can encrypt files for you; check out TrueCrypt for an open-source option that works on multiple platforms and BitLocker for something that comes standard with Windows Vista Ultimate and Enterprise editions. You can also encrypt individual folders by right-clicking them in Windows Explorer, selecting Properties, clicking Advanced under Attributes, checking Encrypt contents to secure data and clicking OK twice.

internet security and data protection concept, blockchain and cybersecurity

Safeguarding servers
We tend to think of cyber security in terms of defense, but it’s equally important to safeguard our servers and any other virtual assets. That’s because when a hacker gets into your system, they have access to all of your data—including all of your clients’ information. So while you’re busy installing firewalls and hacking prevention software, be sure to take time out for more mundane steps like changing default passwords, rotating computer disks (every 3 months), and unplugging routers and modems every night. Steps like these can deter intruders. If a hacker manages to get in anyway, you’ve taken precautions that will slow them down significantly.

And once they realize how difficult it is to gain access, chances are they’ll look for an easier target!

Network defense
The first line of defense for cyber security is network defense. This can include things like firewalls, encryption, and access control lists. The main function of these is to control what data can get in and out of your network. When combined with a well-designed hierarchy (more on that below), they can stop most attacks dead in their tracks. However, it’s important to remember that no defense will work 100% of the time; even incredibly expensive enterprise grade software has holes; all you’re doing here is making it as hard as possible for hackers to gain entry into your network. If an attacker really wants to get in, they’ll find a way—that’s why we have other layers of defense.

Fending off malicious insiders
If you’ve experienced a cyberattack, odds are it came from an insider—somebody with access to your systems who uses that access for nefarious purposes. How can you keep them at bay? The basic principle of least privilege comes into play here: Only give employees what they need to do their jobs. If your system administrators need remote access to fix things, then create virtual private networks (VPNs) and let them log in only when necessary. A comprehensive cybersecurity solution also has to include enterprise monitoring tools, which can spot malicious activity in real time and flag potential problems for human review. Cybersecurity isn’t just about protecting your network; it’s about protecting your reputation. It’s not enough to fend off attacks; you have to make sure that everyone knows you’re doing so.

The Human Element
Often when we think of cyber security, we immediately think of technology. That’s because a lot of breaches are now being carried out by cybercriminals who gain access to company networks using technical means. However, it’s worth remembering that humans still remain an easy target for these criminals. Even those organizations with top-tier firewalls and sophisticated digital security systems in place can find themselves at risk because their employees don’t follow basic security procedures or they mistakenly open malicious emails from unknown senders. There are plenty of ways in which human error can compromise even supposedly secure systems. It is therefore vital that you understand how humans play a crucial role in ensuring your organization’s overall cyber security measures are up to scratch.

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