In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re sharing information that we hope you’ll find helpful in keeping your business and employees safe from data security threats.
For much of America’s workplace, employees are no longer tied to a secure office location. According to a study release by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com this year, 4.3 million employees (3.2% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. This means employers must consider both on-site and remote settings when creating data security processes.
Even small businesses can fall prey to scammers so regardless of the size of your firm, here are some tips for creating a safe and secure working environment for all employees:
- Establish strong passwords for devices and network access. A strong password is at least 8 to 12 characters and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Employees may not always like it but implement a password-change policy that requires periodic updating. And, make sure an administrator can always override a password in the event of a disgruntled employee’s departure.
- Protect yourself from malicious emails. Just like those that find their way into our personal lives, phishing emails are carefully crafted to appear as though they are from colleagues, customers, vendors and law enforcement. Look for common red flags such as misspellings, grammatical errors, requests marked as “Urgent!” or “sensitive,” and/or emails from personal email addresses rather than a business email account.
- Recognize and avoid bogus website links. Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto the network and/or route users to bogus websites. Do not click on links or open attachments contained in unsolicited emails. Consider requiring administrative approval before an employee can download an application.
- Stay protected when working from home. When working remotely, always use a secure, non-public Wi-Fi connection or VPN connection. It may be tempting to use an unsecure internet connection in a coffee shop just to take a quick look at email but understand that these connections can quickly expose you and your company to risk.
- Use multi-factor authentication. If available, consider using two or multi-factor authentication to protect your personal and work email accounts, from unauthorized use. The tool adds an extra layer of security and allows users to access networks using more than just their username and password.
- Report phishing email attempts. Phishing attempts do happen, but the important thing is to recognize them and protect yourself and your organization from unauthorized intrusion. If you receive an email that raises suspicion, don’t just ignore it. Contact your IT manager so you can help protect coworkers from scams.
From a banking perspective, be sure you’re familiar with First Financial Bank’s email procedures, including how we handle requests for personal and/or sensitive information. Our policies can help you easily avoid phishing and other scams and prevent sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands.