The 5 Essential Steps You Need to Work Safely Online

31 January 2020

These days, much of our business is conducted online. As convenient as it is, cybercrime has quickly become today’s fastest-growing form of criminal activity.

It is estimated that by the end of this year, the estimated number of passwords used by humans and machines worldwide would grow to 300 billion.

Cybersecurity continues to be an ongoing concern. As a matter of fact, 68% of business leaders feel that their cybersecurity risks are increasing.

As a business owner, you may be wondering what you can do.

That’s where we come in.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe online.


1. Accept That You Could Be At Risk

A lot of people believe that they won’t be targeted for a cyber attack or for identity theft. It’s easy to think to yourself, “It’ll never happen to me.”

A lot of small business owners wrongly assume that they won’t be targeted due to their belief that cybercriminals go after larger companies. After all, larger companies have a lot more to lose, right?

Interestingly, that is not always the case.

Small businesses are often frequently hit with cyber attacks. Research indicates that forty-three percent of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, with only 14% being able to defend themselves.

These incidents can cost businesses as much as $200,000, putting some out of business. Accepting that your business could be at risk is the first step in prevention because you can then take proper measures to protect yourself.


2. Utilize Password Protection

Password protection is key in protecting yourself and your business. Often, people will rely on the same password across all devices, but that is unwise, especially if one of your accounts gets hacked. Creating strong, unguessable passwords and locking each account with a different password is best practice.

If you’re like many of us who have trouble remembering all of the different passwords, use a password manager. Password managers are a great way of creating unique passwords without ever having to remember what you created.

Also, make sure you password-protect all your devices and never leave any of your devices unattended. Use two-factor authentication to provide an added layer of protection on your accounts. Two-factor authentication works by confirming a user’s identity by requiring a username and password and either requiring a pin number that was sent to the user’s phone or answering an additional question.


3. Avoid Suspicious Websites and Links

With the vast majority of our communications being conducted online, you probably receive a lot of emails on a daily basis. Some emails are legitimate, while some contain malicious links trying to cause your computer some harm. Phishing is a cyber-attack that attempts to trick the recipient into clicking on the link or email, which will, in turn, infects the user’s computer. The link is often designed to encourage the recipient to click on the link by creating a sense of urgency. An example of this would be a request from the person’s “bank” requesting their private financial information. Or, sometimes it’s a “friend” or a “coworker” requesting that you download or click on a link.

Always make sure you inspect any suspicious links before clicking on them and validate that it is a legitimate source.


4. Be Careful When Using Public Wifi

Let’s say that you often work remotely, and you decide to switch it up one afternoon by working at your local coffee shop. This coffee shop offers free public wifi, so you eagerly connect your device, unaware of the risk it presents.

Public wifi is so convenient, especially when you have data restrictions or you have time to kill. The problem with public wifi lies in the name itself because if it is available to you, it can be available to anyone, including those with malintent.

Connecting to an unsecured network poses some risks, including having your data being stolen or having your device hacked. If you have to use public wifi, try to avoid logging into online banking or anything considered confidential.


5. Protecting Yourself Begins With Physical Document Destruction

Protecting yourself extends beyond taking measures online. When you throw out personal information like baking statements, prescription receipts or client info, it leaves you vulnerable to those who want to steal your information.

From on-site to off-site shredding, Tri-State offers a variety of shredding services to meet your needs.

Give us a call at (717) 233-5606 or contact us to start shredding today!