With so much sensitive information stored digitally these days and such a great deal of web-based communication going on all the time, security breaches happen with an increasing frequency that’s alarming. Almost constantly, there are new tools, products, platforms and upgrades put into use that create new challenges for maintaining protective barriers against data breaches and other security issues. As a result, cybersecurity is at greater risk than ever. Unfortunately, with their frequent use of computers, even churches, Christian schools and non-profits are vulnerable without the proper measures in place. Taking time to inform everyone of Cybersecurity 101 is of great importance, so establish a few rules and educate the members of your organization on the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Use Secure Passwords
One of the most common aspects of Cybersecurity 101 is the creation of passwords. Many people make the mistake of creating simple or predictable passwords because they are easy to remember. Unfortunately, that also makes them very easy for a machine or a hacker to guess. Solutions for avoiding this include:
- Creating long passwords. Using more characters will increase the degree of difficulty in guessing them.
- Avoiding passwords based on personal information that could be accessed easily or guessed.
- Developing complex passwords that also have a reminder for remembering them. Using pass phrases whenever possible. They are often easier to remember without being predictable enough to guess by someone who should not have access.
- Using different passwords on different systems, as this is one of the best ways to secure networks.
Never Rely Too Greatly on Software for Cybersecurity
Relying solely on antivirus software to protect network systems is extremely risky, as cyber criminals are increasingly prolific and creative in their methods of hacking into networks. The more confidence you place in antivirus software, the more lax you become in following other safety protocols of Cybersecurity 101. A few easily implemented solutions include:
- Choosing and using the best antivirus software for your needs.
- Frequently updating security systems to protect information from ransomware.
Verify Links Sent Via Email
Another mistake that is part of Cybersecurity 101 is the trap of not verifying hyperlinks sent via email from unknown senders. These hyperlinks often create points of access for cyber attack. The best solutions include:
- Recognizing red flags in a suspicious email such as “spoof” email addresses, typos, prompts to open an attachment and requests for personal information.
- Verifying URL destinations to confirm the legitimacy of a site.
- Maintaining the latest version of security software.
- Using encryption tools when sending emails to maintain the security of information being transmitted and requiring that recipients use a virtual key or specific, unique code to unlock the encryption and view content.
Understand Secure Cloud Usage
Cloud computing uses the Internet to send resources like applications and storage to other Internet users and also enables remote access of these resources. Solutions to potential cybersecurity risks created by improper cloud use include:
- Knowing the owner of the cloud data.
- Being aware of the type of cloud service being engaged and understanding the different access levels required to review and examine the services and framework.
- Knowing the tradeoffs of the cloud, which include delay time and bandwidth issues, as traffic flow to the cloud can potentially increase the risk of cyber attack.
Never Ignore Cyber Concerns
Ignoring concerns and assuming that they are not cause enough for caution is one of the Cybersecurity 101 pitfalls. If something seems suspicious, it is best to take action and avoid falling into the trap.
At Beacon Insurance Agency, our focus lies solely on providing for the insurance needs of churches, Christian schools and non-profit organizations along the Gulf Coast. We know that keeping their organization and its information safe from cybersecurity risks is a priority, so we encourage our clients to use our partnership with GuideOne Insurance and the exclusive access it provides to utilize invaluable safety resources that help guide them to a safer organization, both virtually and in the real world.
Educate the members of your church or organization on the basics of Cybersecurity 101! Call Beacon Insurance Agency to learn more about the insurance coverage and many safety resources we offer today!