Cyber Security – A Few Thoughts for Peace of Mind

Cyber Security – A Few Thoughts for Peace of Mind

The Virus Dream Sequence…

I have vivid and recurring dreams like most folks. You know; like being in a public place in your underwear or sitting for a final college exam for a class that you didn’t attend. Yeah, I have those. Lately I’ve dreamt that my phone or computer are taken over by a virus. In my dream sequence, I watch helplessly as my device is taken over by uncontrollable forces as the virus infects my data, the operations of my device and my life!

Fortunately, I wake up, wipe my brow, forget about the dream and go on with my day. Whew!

Perhaps the Dream has a Purpose…

The main reason I go on with my day is that I believe – right or wrong – that I am relatively safe. I consider myself somewhat tech savvy. I follow most of the rules because I have paid attention to the risks and read up on the subject. I practice increasing levels of cyber security protocols to ensure my business and client’s data security. However, like most folks I see changes in the behavior of nefarious hackers of all kinds in my inbox, on websites and in the news. Maybe my new recurring dream is there for a purpose.

With that in mind, let’s consider some simple steps to make all of us more “Cyber Security Aware”.

3 Areas to Consider…

To be clear, I am being very general on purpose. This subject matter is dense, and I am not a professional cyber security expert. Regardless, here are some thoughts for your consideration:

Help me, Help you…

The chances are that your fit into two categories: 1) You are like me and pay pretty good attention to the protocols I mentioned above, and/or 2) you are in an organization with an IT specialist that handles your cyber security protocols and you don’t have to worry about the subject, or do you…

Frankly, it’s not you or me that is the greatest threat to the potential of cyber invasion. After all, we are probably reasonably tech savvy. No, it’s your staff that possibly doesn’t understand the fact that threats are constant. In other words, everyone in your organization, family or those that visit your “Cyber-World” are under the threat of constant attack. Those that access your systems may be in one or more of the following risk categories:

  • Inexperienced regarding technology…
  • Very involved in social media…
  • Too trusting…
  • Too curious for their own good…

Without going into specifics, “Cyber-Baddies” are using every method they can to get in the heads of those that fit these descriptions.

What are do you do? For starters, education can provide significant protective awareness to those in your Cyber-World.  Look at articles such as this and recommend them to folks in your Cyber-World:

https://cipher.com/blog/10-personal-cyber-security-tips-cyberaware/

There are several resources on the web like these. Most make for quick reading and offer some good guidance for those in need of better cyber security practices.

I’m a Road Dog Baby…

Many of us are frequently on the road in our business and personal lives. Naturally we want to stay in touch with our Cyber Networks. Travelers are often within range of several free public Wi-Fi access points. Unfortunately, such access points are frequently not secure and do not offer adequate data encryption, leaving your devices and transmissions open to anyone who wants to access them. Whether in hotels, coffee shops or a client office; the temptation to access such public access points is hard to resist. What do you do? One option is to risk the potential for unencrypted transmissions or reception. What the heck, who will notice? Bad idea!

The other option is to subscribe to a remote Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, such as Express VPN. Such services are inexpensive and allow you to route your signal with data encryption to a VPN that is remote to your current location. So, without getting too technical, by using a remote VPN you are able to be in Denver, while the PC, tablet or smartphone that you are using is directing encrypted traffic to a VPN hub in Washington, DC, New Dehli, India or a number of other locations that are provided by the service that offers the remote VPN service. Many remote VPN services offer pricing on an annual subscription basis for up to 5 devices for the same base price.

This service offers speed and security while traveling. The peace of mind provided by such a service is significant.

What if it All Falls Apart…

Finally, even with due care, it is possible that a breach occurs. Let’s say that a security breach of sensitive information occurs to your sensitive customer data or a ransomware attack results in significant recovery expenses to resolve such an invasion. Unfortunately, the costs of such breaches may run into a lot of money to resolve the resulting issues.

The good news is that Cyber Security Insurance is available to mitigate losses. However, it is important that the insurance coverage is well understood. It is possible that policies may appear to offer protection that may not be adequate in the event of a security issue. Such coverages are relatively new and not generally understood by all agents that might offer coverage. It is important to discuss your insurance needs with a qualified agent that will work with you to offer coverage that matches your risk profile and budget.

A Little Knowledge Goes a Long Way

I believe that most professionals, leaders and business owners would benefit from thinking deeper about their Cyber World. The Cyber World is full of predators that will leverage any advantage they can get to harm the unaware and unprotected. Some quality time invested in research followed by appropriate consultations with experienced with Cyber Security specialists may help to make the disturbing dreams go away.

Then you can figure out how to get out of your next dream without anyone knowing that you are only clad in skivvies or that you have IN FACT fully prepared for the final exam.

Our partners have experience in these matters and are willing to offer referrals and resources as needed. Give us a call and we will be happy to share what we know on this subject.

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