October is National Cyber Security Awareness month, and individuals as well as business owners could benefit by considering these six tips, offered by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
- Lock down all your logins. NCSA recommends opting in to the strongest authentication tools offered by the online sites and systems you use. Security keys, using two-step authentication (where you receive a code on a different device), even biometrics. A subset of this is setting and maintaining your passwords, but we’ll get to that in a later post.
- Keep your machine(s) clean. This means keeping all the software you use on any internet-connected device (PC’s, phones and tablets) up to date. This reduces the risk of infection from malware, because the software makers often plug security holes when they update.
- Protect your personal information as if it were cash. For example, how often do you allow a website you visit to know your location? Think about what’s being collected by the apps and websites you visit.
- Think first, click later. When that email hits your inbox and it looks like it’s from your bank, think before you click. If the sentence construction is awkward, or if the email threatens some kind of action, contact the institution directly, rather than clicking through. Cyber-criminals love to play on fear or shock to get their victims to click those links. Think and verify before you assume the contact is genuine.
- Think before you post. Think before you post about yourself and others. What are you revealing about yourself, your opinions, your lifestyle, your plans — and who can see it? How might the post be perceived a year from now?
- Own your online presence. Don’t assume the default privacy settings on websites and social media platforms are the best settings for you. Investigate and understand the security settings and adjust them to provide appropriate access. There is nothing wrong with limiting how you share information, and with whom you share it.
At Blazej Accounting and Bookkeeping, we handle and document every aspect of our clients’ financial transactions so they always know where they stand. After 11 years in business, we understand the issues that concern entrepreneurs because we listen to our clients. When we learn things about business, about being a sole proprietor, about security or other issues facing entrepreneurs, we’ll share them here.