What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It So Important for Remote Work?
There is so much use of technology in our lives right now from email to smartphones and tablets, entertainment, shopping, transportation, and even medicine in the form of electronic charting and medical records. All of this makes cybersecurity more important than ever before. Cybersecurity refers to the process of keeping information confidential while protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized use or criminal access.
With the overwhelming amount of daily technology used for those of us who own a small business or remote working, as well as those who just simply store personal information on their phones, computers, tablets, etc., the risks of having poor cybersecurity puts everyone in some level of danger. These risks include things such as having your entire system erased, files altered, identity stolen, and unlawful access to your financial accounts. The cost of a cybersecurity breach is huge and can cause stress beyond just general annoyance. This is especially true when your small business is at stake. Cybersecurity efforts should not be taken lightly and luckily, there are ways to prevent cyber-attacks from occurring.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely avoid having these things happen to you, however, being aware of the most common threats and how to protect yourself from the dangers associated with them is a good start towards risk prevention.
What Are the Most Common Network Security Threats?
The most common network security threats are those that are often overlooked. Take a look at these 3 most common security threats that are out there and be aware that there are always others emerging:
- Computer VirusesComputer viruses are the most common cybersecurity threats and can affect everyday internet users. This type of threat is called a virus because it is a piece of software that does damage by spreading from one computer to another. Be cautious of unknown e-mail senders and suspicious email attachments that often contain the virus. Computer viruses can send spam, steal data from your computer, negatively affect your security settings, and even delete everything from your hard drive.
- Adware and SpywareAdware tracks and collects data without your consent. Everything you search for, your browsing habits, and purchase transactions can be monitored and used to flood you with pop-up ads. Adware is often hidden deep within user agreement documents and can go unnoticed until it interferes with your internet connection speed. Spyware is similar to adware and is just as dangerous, if not more. Once installed on your computer, it is able to track and record your personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and email addresses. Thus, posing the potential for identity theft.
- PhishingPhishing is another way a hacker can obtain our personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and usernames to steal your identity. Phishing attacks often appear legitimate at first, as they come across via instant messages or emails. Once you are tricked into opening the attachment, the malware is installed on your device, and security is breached.
Four Best Practices for a Secure Remote Team Management
- Set Up VPN Access to Remote WorkersA VPN is a virtual private network that allows small business owners to empower their employees to work virtually in a secure manner. VPNs provide the remote worker with access to the company’s resources by connecting their computers to a secure network. It is important to encrypt your company’s data and prevent an outsider from intercepting it.
- Establish Good Password Management for Yourself and Your Virtual TeamIt is important to use a different password for every account you have. Make sure it is at least 10 characters and is a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Use a password manager and avoid using your personal information such as your birthdate or anniversary. These types of passwords are easily guessed. It is also not good practice to use common dictionary words. Change your password often and be careful not to write it down where it can be found by someone other than yourself. Make sure your whole remote workforce knows how to create safe passwords and encourage them to change them regularly.
- Update Your Security Software RegularlyUpdate your security software daily, if possible. Whenever a new update is available, it is often because new malware has been detected and the update will protect your devices against it. Encourage your team to also check regularly for updates on their own devices.One of the best and easiest ways to ensure your cybersecurity software stays up to date is to use the automatic updates for the operating system you use. Using reputable web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome means security updates will be performed regularly and will be ongoing.Updating software regularly can fix and repair computer bugs and more importantly, fix or identify security holes that could put you at risk. Lastly, it is important to keep your browser plug-ins up to date as well. Common browser plug-ins include Flash, Java, Acrobat, and QuickTime. Always make sure your operating system is running the latest version of the software for optimum protection.
- Avoid Using Public Wi-FiUsing public Wi-Fi is risky behavior. There are definitely some privacy and security risks when you jump on the free services found in airports, restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops. Most times, your online activities are not encrypted, even when a password is used to access their Wi-Fi.This leaves your information and data vulnerable to predators who are looking to hack your accounts. In some cases, you may even be logged into a “fake Wi-Fi” created by a scammer to steal your personal information. Look out for things such as “free wi-fi” hotspots that predators wait for you to join and then come between you and your computer’s broadband request.With virtual teams, it’s important to stress Wi-Fi security, as many remote workers may utilize Wi-Fi outside of the home. Your whole remote workforce should understand the risks and what to look for.
As you can see, cybersecurity is dangerous, and the risks affect almost everyone in one way or another. Here at Virtual Latinos, we take cybersecurity very seriously and are committed to only the safest hiring processes when looking for a virtual assistant to represent our company and yours. If you are a small business owner and are looking to hire a virtual assistant, contact us today, and let’s discuss the process of finding a virtual assistant from Latin America that is trustworthy and professional.