Everyone in the security space is aware that a solid cybersecurity policy can go a long way in protecting the business against various threats. However, the problem is that not every member of the organization is a security expert. As a matter of fact, most employees don’t know the first thing about viruses and firewalls due to which it is essential for them to become cyber-safe. The question most employees ask is how they can go about this process. Listed below are some great tips for you if you wish to become a cyber-safe employee:
1. Be wary of phishing
Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated in their methods and you should be on the lookout for ‘phishing’ emails that are designed to fool you. As an employee, you should not respond to an email when you don’t recognize the sender. Only open an email when you know the sender or have communicated with them. Make sure the email doesn’t have any unusual spellings or text and also run it through an anti-virus program test to ensure it is safe to open.
2. Browse safely and carefully
Web security is also crucial when you want to be a cyber-safe employee. You should opt for a malware or ad blocker for both your home and office computers. They can keep you safe from any malicious ads that are found on websites. Don’t open unnecessary links and only visit secure websites that have ‘https’ instead of ‘http’. It is also a good idea to use a VPN when you are browsing at home or any place other than the office as this offers you a privacy screen.
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3. Use appropriate passwords
The use of strong passwords is highly recommended if you are interested in becoming cyber-safe. You should choose cryptic passwords that can be difficult to guess, but not too difficult that you forget. If you want to keep them in writing, it is better to use a password manager or vault to prevent others from gaining access to them. Passwords should also be changed periodically to ensure your data is not compromised. Also, avoid reusing passwords between accounts as this makes them easier to guess. Moreover, if one account is compromised, the rest will also be at risk.
4. Keep watch over your devices
It is also your job to ensure your devices are secure in the best possible way. If you use your personal devices such as mobile for your work, make sure they don’t end up in someone else’s hands. Always keep them in your custody to prevent sensitive information from being compromised. In addition, put a password on your mobile. Or password-protect the data or files you have stored on your phone to maintain their safety.
5. Be cautious over social media
This is the age of social media and everyone uses multiple networks these days. Just because you are an employee doesn’t mean that you cannot use social media, but there are certain rules that should be followed. No confidential or private data should be shared and you need to follow some guidelines in regard to behavior because it will reflect on the organization you are associated with.
6. Don’t install unauthorized software
Tons of software and programs are introduced regularly as advancements continue to take place. There are programs that may promise you a plethora of features and facilities that might be tempting, but they should never be installed without permission. Employees should always consult the IT department before downloading anything on their company devices as they can compromise the security measures that may have been installed.
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7. Use a VPN or trusted wireless hotspots
You should always be careful of the wireless networks you connect to. Never allow your devices to connect to any unauthenticated ‘free public Wi-Fi’. If you work in public spaces, it is best to connect to your organization’s VPN before you access business data. Always use personal wireless hotspots if you tend to travel frequently. Phones and tablets can also be used as hotspots if no other options are available and they are certainly better than public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Use these tips for becoming a cyber-safe employee and mitigate common threats.
This article is written by Martin Sumichrast, CEO of Level Brands Inc. He is a seasoned entrepreneur, successful businessman, professional guest writer and worked for some big magazines like Engadget.com and Seeking Alpha. Presently, he is working as a part-time blogger for a global organization Clearswift an information security company that offers cyber-security services like email security, data loss prevention, and web security etc.