How to Secure Your Personal Computer Docs & Data

Posted Leave a commentPosted in CyberSecurity, Data Security
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels 

Computers are amazing things. However, despite the benefits of computers and the internet, using them involves some inherent risks. There are threats like hackers, malware, viruses, cybercriminals, and more that wish to do you harm. You could even have your most personal information stolen. Thankfully, there are strategies you can use to secure the documents and data you have stored on your personal computer. 

Encryption 

One of the best and most fail-proof methods of protecting both computer documents and data is encryption. Encryption can be thought of as a way of scrambling data. It uses an encoding process that transforms data into a form that prevents it from being read as it previously was. If data remains encrypted, it is impossible to tell what that data originally contained. This can be reversed through the process of decryption, but only if you have the encryption key. Without that key, typically a password, unlocking that data again will be impossible. If you want to protect your data and documents, encryption is your best bet. Even if the data is stolen, it cannot be decrypted without the key. There are programs you can use to encrypt specific files or even entire drives. Overall, it’s the highest form of data security that exists. 

Cloud Backup 

Malware and viruses can corrupt and destroy files and data. In fact, you can even lose those files without any malicious actor intervening. If your home is hit by a lightning strike, the power surge could erase all the data stored on your PC’s hard drive. One local copy of an important file or document is never enough. You should expect that data to be lost at any point. One way to prevent data loss completely is to create offsite backups through a cloud host. Unlike traditional hosting, cloud computing involves the use of a shared server infrastructure that utilizes data redundancy and makes it virtually impossible to lose data forever on accident. Even if you lose your own files on your PC, your backups in the cloud will remain and can be quickly restored back to your computer. This is also the security choice of corporate America as 90 percent of companies implement online backup. 

Legal Document Management System 

Certain computer files are more important than others. Of all your files, the most important probably are legal documents concerning your family, finances, and obligations to the government. This can include things like a birth certificate, living will, marriage license, deed to a house, and more. In the past, all of these would only exist as paper documents and be stored somewhere in a file cabinet or safe deposit box. Today, it makes sense to keep digital copies of such important documents as well due to how intertwined modern life has become with the digital world. Keeping a digital version may also be a good idea in case the paper versions are somehow lost or destroyed since such documents are very hard to replace. Something you should use to help store, protect and manage these documents is a legal document management system. The best legal document management system should be cloud-powered and have an interface that will allow you to categorize and tag your documents so they can be easily found when needed even by a loved one if something were to happen to you. 

Malware and Virus Scanner 

Another piece of software you should take advantage of is a malware and virus scanner. If you really want to protect your data, you should be running one at all times on your computer. While running in the background, the software can scan incoming files from the internet for threats. Quite often, people only download things like malware or viruses on accident. They may be hidden within email attachments or file downloads where you cannot see them. If you can scan those files before they are allowed onto your hard drive, you can protect your computer from those threats. Make sure you have instant updating of the software switched on as well. New digital threats are introduced every day, and the software needs to be updated to know exactly what to look for. 

Overall, you can’t be lax when it comes to protecting your important documents and data on your personal computer or any other device for that matter. Bad things can happen. Whether you accidentally download malware, get targeted by identity thieves, or simply experience a power surge after a thunderstorm, those files can be put at risk. Protect them through tools like encryption, cloud backup, a legal document management system, and a malware and virus scanner. 

Web Security: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

Posted 1 CommentPosted in CyberSecurity, Kids & Internet

The internet can be very resourceful for children, whether they are doing their homework using Wikipedia, playing online games, listening to online music, and more. However, the internet also has some sites that you wouldn’t want your children to visit. Parents are always worried about how to let their kids use the internet but safely. Since it may be a little difficult to keep tabs on what your children are watching or meeting on the internet, here are a few ways you could keep them safe.

Set Rules

Most kids nowadays have internet access. They know almost everything there is to know about applications, music sites, social sites, etc. Technology is their other home. Technology is useful when you want your kids to learn, as they can use a trackpad or touchscreen for navigating some life skills. No matter how old they are, it is essential to know how to protect your child from online predators as they browse social networks such as Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok.

You can set rules by not allowing your children to use devices such as laptops and phones in their rooms. Instead, it would help if you asked them to use the device in communal areas such as the living room, as they will be discouraged from engaging in inappropriate activities while you are only a glance away. As you set the rules, be sure to know about the dangers of misusing the internet and why you are against them using the devices in their rooms. Also, encourage them to talk to you if they encounter uncomfortable things on the web that upsets them. This way, you will know the inappropriate sites to delete and add them to your parental control filter list.

Using a Virtual Private Network

A Virtual Private Network prevents your location from being tracked and protects your family on the networks. The VPN will connect your devices to a secure server that will use an encrypted connection to keep your data safe while browsing. Virtual Private Networks masks the users’ IP addresses so any person online cannot track the location of your children. The secure connection will also protect your children on risky public networks; therefore, information can never be intercepted. Installing a VPN on your children’s smartphones and computers is essential to keep them protected.

Control the Router

Suppose you would like to control the type of websites and internet services your children can access at home, change your router settings. For example, you can block specific sites, prevent the adult content sites and sometimes schedule the time your young ones spend on the internet to avoid too much screen time.

Know your Kids’ Passwords

If your kids are young, create an account using your name rather than exposing theirs. This way, you will have the password. However, it would be best if you respected the accounts’ age limitations. If you visit a site that requires you to be over 18 years, then you should probably wait if your kid hasn’t reached that age. Whatever you choose, let your children know that you have their passwords and warn them you will see what they post or watch from time to time to ensure everything is okay. It is not advisable to spy on your children’s accounts without letting them know because their trust in you could weaken.

Always check the Browsing History

You must check your kid’s web browser history to see which sites they have been visiting. You can also check the recycle bin as they may have deleted some items. You never know what they are doing and deleting.

Know your Children’s Friends

Many dangerous people online don’t say who they are, and therefore if you are naïve, you could fall into their traps. Such people befriend children and take advantage of them, pretending that they can be trusted. Your children should be cyber wise and learn not to talk or meet strangers from an early age. You can become your child’s friend to see who they are friends with and monitor what they post and what the friends post. Although your kids may not like the idea, let them know you are doing this to protect them.

Final Thought

The internet has made parenting a little more complicated. Since we cannot ignore the fact that your children will use the internet at some point, you must keep them safe always by monitoring their activity online. Although it may be completely impossible to keep them safe totally, the tips we have discussed above will help you to some extent.

Why Cyber Security Is Integral for eCommerce Success

Posted Leave a commentPosted in CyberSecurity

Photo by Negative Space from Pexels covered by the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

Why Cyber Security Is Integral for eCommerce Success

There’s a lot of money to be made in e-commerce. This is demonstrated by the fact that online shopping continues to expand even while other sectors of the economy do not. However, operating an e-commerce business is extremely different from running a brick-and-mortar store. Unlike brick and mortar operations, many of the biggest threats to your business may be completely invisible to you and originate from thousands of miles away. If you want to succeed in e-commerce, cybersecurity is absolutely integral to your business’s long-term survival.

Your Customers Could Be Targeted

While upholding high standards for cybersecurity is important for any business, it is even more important for companies that sell goods and services over the internet. These businesses are especially at risk of having sensitive data connected to customer accounts and transactions accessed and leaked after a security breach. When this happens, the results can be disastrous. Your customers could be defrauded of thousands or even millions of dollars after their identities are stolen using this information. After that occurs, you may end up on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit. If you did not uphold high cybersecurity standards in your company, you will likely be found negligent in court and be forced to pay out large sums of money for the damage that was done by those hackers and cybercriminals. Your business may not be able to survive the fallout. The average cost of a business-targeted hack is $200,000.

You Need to Have a Cyber Security Framework in Place

Unfortunately, most business owners lack the expertise to institute working cybersecurity protocols for their own businesses. That is understandable. The technology and software in question is extremely complex and requires a high level of technical expertise and knowledge to understand and operate. This is why you should consider implementing the NIST cybersecurity framework when developing your cybersecurity programs instead of going about it on your own. NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. The NIST is part of the US Department of Commerce and helps to create standards, regulations, measurements, and more for the benefit of technological advancement in the United States in both regards to the government as well as American businesses.

In regards to your own business, using the NIST cybersecurity framework can be extremely advantageous due to the functions it provides for your company. NIST CSF functions should include the ability to better identify potential gaps in your own network, systems, and assets that could lead to a security breach. The system can allow you to better protect the confidentiality of sensitive data. It can allow you to detect threats in real time and allow you immediately respond to cybersecurity events before they cause significant damage. It can allow you to immediately restore any services or capabilities after such an event as well. You will be able to much better weather any kind of security event, intrusion, or attack.

You Could Lose Your Credibility as a Business

Business relationships of any kind involve a great deal of trust to maintain. The relationships customers build with the businesses they purchase products or services from indeed involve a good amount of trust. Those customers trust that they will receive what they pay for without any unexpected negative consequences. After a significant hack, this trust can quickly evaporate. Consumers may assume it is too risky to even visit your online store to make a purchase. The same can be said of other companies you do business with. Vendors, suppliers, and other partners expect that you will run a professional operation in which the sensitive data they share with you will not be leaked to bad actors. If that trust is broken, it could lead to the loss of business relationships you need to compete in your market.

Overall, you don’t really have a choice when it comes to whether or not you should place a strong emphasis on cybersecurity for your e-commerce business. If you don’t, you will certainly be targeted by hackers and cybercriminals. The results of that negligence could be disastrous for your company. If you want to survive in the long term, implementing strong cybersecurity protocols is an absolute necessity. Consider integrating the NIST cybersecurity framework and other measures to ensure that your company is protected.