Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Cyber,Hygiene,-,Set,Of,Practices,For,Ensuring,The,Safe

Your company’s cyber defences are constantly being breached. Cyber security threats are increasing as more work is done online and more people work from home, especially in times of crisis like the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Organizations and individuals alike might benefit from implementing a strong cyber hygiene policy to safeguard sensitive information from hackers

Cyber hygiene, also known as cybersecurity hygiene, refers to a set of activities that companies and individuals implement to combat cyber threats and enhance overall online security. These measures help protect identification and other information that could be stolen or compromised from your computers and other devices. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, when more people began working remotely, cyberattacks have escalated, highlighting the importance of cyber hygiene.

It’s everyone’s business

While IT security managers and technicians certainly play a significant role, cyber hygiene is everyone’s responsibility in an organisation. Email security recommended practices, such as avoiding public Wi-Fi and making strong, unique passwords, are something nearly every employee can do to help maintain good cyber hygiene.

And keep in mind that good cyber hygiene isn’t something you do just once; it’s something you should do on a regular basis, just like you would with your own physical hygiene. Implementing good cyber hygiene practices on a regular basis can prevent cybercriminals from causing security breaches or stealing personal information.

Why is cyber hygiene so necessary?

Using social engineering to break into remote workplaces, cybercriminals stole $6.9 billion in 2021, according to a Forbes article. If a company practices cyber hygiene, it can reduce the likelihood of security breaches, interruptions to operations, and loss of data. Implementing regular cyber hygiene practices is also helpful for ensuring the smooth operation of software and computers. A well-maintained system is less likely to be subject to cybersecurity risks.

Business cyber hygiene vs individual cyber hygiene

Individual or personal cyber hygiene focuses on keeping an individual safe from security threats. Business cyber hygiene, on the other hand, is done on a much larger scale and covers a wider range of business issues. Cyber hygiene, both personal and business, safeguards computer systems and data integrity.

Top 10 best practices for cyber hygiene

Set strong passwords

One of the vital components of good online hygiene is the use of complex passwords that are frequently changed. Experts say that the longer your password is, the better. To protect something important, like your bank account, use a password with at least 12 characters, including letters, numbers, and special characters. Use a password manager application to help manage several passwords. A multi-factor authentication (MFA) gives your online accounts an extra layer of security.

Install trusted antivirus

High-quality anti-virus software is an important line of defence against malware like viruses, ransomwares, and Trojans. Make sure the software is set up correctly and scan it often to detect any suspicious behaviour.

Back up data routinely

Important data should be backed up on a regular basis to a server or cloud that is not connected to the main network, users can also back up vital files offline, on an external hard drive

Update software regularly

Software updates are crucial to your digital safety and cyber security. Use only the most recent versions, which have removed or addressed potential security vulnerabilities.

Network firewalls

A firewall blocks intruders from accessing your online resources such as websites, databases, and mail servers from outside your network.

Use online discretion while surfing

Don’t put anything online that could help an attacker guess your password, reset it, or get into your account in any other way. Be aware of what personal information about you is already online and could be used by cybercriminals to trick you. Additionally, if an email or link appears suspicious, such as one that promises free money, prizes, or discounts, do not open the email or click the link.

Monito, Monitor, Monitor

In order to maintain a secure network, IT security managers should routinely check the permissions of all users to make sure no one has access to sensitive information they no longer need.

Educate employees

Provide comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training to new hires and follow up with monthly evaluations and updates on key issues. Companies must teach employees about good cyber hygiene, such as how to keep track of their passwords and emails and how to use the company’s network safely.

Secure mobile device

A strong cybersecurity plan should include a plan to protect data from employees who access corporate networks through mobile devices. As a practice, always install software updates immediately as they become available. Software upgrades for phones, tablets, PCs, and even smart TVs might have unexpected side effects like changing functionality, but they secure your equipment.

Use VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to a network is one of the best ways to keep networks safe when working from home. A VPN creates a secure connection that encrypts information so that it stays hidden as it travels. With this connection, it’s harder for hackers to access sensitive data.

Closing thoughts

The odds of avoiding an online threat could be improved by regularly monitoring your cybersecurity and implementing the 10 best practices we have discussed. To get started with your regular cyber hygiene duties, create a reminder or write down important dates on a calendar. Remember, like any other habit you want to form, it needs routine and repetition.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members