Government, private industry and individuals all face a growing threat from cyber attacks. The attacks can come from foreign security services, terrorists, criminal groups or individual hackers. Successful cyber attacks can steal government and private information, cause damage to our computer systems, create disruptions, deny service and shut down our power grids nationwide. In recognition of the growing threat, government and private industry are both working towards a better defense of our vital computer systems. According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the 24-hour, DHS-led coordinated watch and warning center is working diligently with industry leaders to improve national efforts to address threats and incidents affecting the nation’s critical information technology and cyber infrastructure. But what can you do locally to protect your business?
- Be aware online. Do not open unsolicited e-mails or visit links you’re unsure of.
- Keep Web browsers and operating systems up to date.
- Encrypt your important files before backing up to cloud storage facilities (like Dropbox), CDs, thumb drives or external hard drives at least once a month.
- Use security software tools as your first line of defense. Many companies specialize in cyber security software, and this is something which should be a standard part of your IT budget.
- Learn what to do if something goes wrong. Even if you are careful, your computer could be compromised, so make sure you know who to contact if you’re concerned or something happens.
The important thing is to be aware that anytime any day, people may be trying to compromise your networks and data, so be aware and take steps to prevent access at every opportunity.