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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in America, and whilst October is almost over, we know that cyber safety is an all-year-round concern. Below, we look at simple, yet effective ways organisations can control and reduce their risk of falling victim to cybercrime.

1: Passwords

Creating strong passwords is key to staying safe online. Experts recommend that passwords should be between 8-16 characters and a mixture of lowercase, uppercase and special characters. Best practise is to use 3 random words and different passwords for different platforms, especially for sensitive information, such as emails and banking.

2: Phishing

Ensure everyone within your organisation is aware of phishing scams. Phishing is when fraudulent emails are sent from seemingly reputable companies to extract personal data, such as passwords and credit card details. Why not circulate this useful poster from the NICCS to increase awareness.

3: Back up data regularly

Think of the knock-on effect of losing crucial data if it was subject to a ransomware attack. Switching to a comprehensive cloud storage system will encrypt your data, automate the back-ups and allow you to always have the latest version of your files whenever you need them.

4: 2FA

Two factor authentication is best practise for staying safe online. It utilises two authorisation methods, usually the first in the form of a password and the second via a device. For example, a unique code sent to the registered number.

5: Spam calls

Online crime doesn’t always start online. Calls from apparent professional companies may try to extract personal information from you over the phone by pretending to be one of your service providers. They will then use this information to guess passwords or mimic you online.

6: Physical hardware

Be careful what you connect to your computer. Viruses can be transferred from hardware, including USB memory sticks, hard drives and smartphones.

7: Type it

Never click a link that you are unsure about. Typing the website URL directly into the address bar is a good habit to keep your devices safe.

8: Update anti-virus protection

Secure your devices with a complete anti-virus software, and make sure that it is regularly updated automatically so your system stands the best chance against cybercrime.

9: Securing WIFI network

Secure your WIFI network with a strong password, and make sure if you’re using public networks do not access sensitive data, such as online banking. If you have to, then we recommend using a VPN (virtual private network).

10: Make it company policy

Cyber security is all about layered defence and consistency. Rolling out your cyber security policy and making sure each member of your workforce is compliant will help prevent cyber security breaches.

It is difficult to imagine there are many organisations nowadays that don’t operate online in some way. In the UK alone, 55% of organisations (businesses and charities) reported a breach in the last 12 months. The UK launched Cyber Essentials in 2014, and the scheme is designed to protect organisations, whatever their size, against a range of the most common cyberattacks. Most of these attacks are basic and carried out by relatively unskilled people. They have been described as the digital equivalent of a thief trying your front door to see if it is unlocked.

If you’re interested in securing your cyber assets, then why not start by downloading our 4 free Cyber Essentials documents from our expert toolkit. Don’t forget to distribute our handy poster about strong passwords too!

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