8 Things You Can Do In Under 2 Hours To Easily Increase Digital Security In 2020
Perhaps now more than ever, it is important to make sure that your small business or personal data is protected and secure so you can avoid situations such as data loss or ransomware. As a data recovery company we often see the fallout from data loss due to poor digital security. One of the most common questions we hear is “How can I better protect my company, myself, and my data?” The world of VPNs and data backups can be confusing and intimidating due to the never ending options and high price points, that’s why here at Gillware we took it upon ourselves to compile a list of the 8 best things you can do in 2020 to easily increase your digital security in under 2 hours. Read on to find out more about some of the best security products on the market and how they can help protect your company’s data.
User authentication is an important piece to any digital security plan. A good user authentication system will consist of an additional way of logging in other than just username and password, which can be easily compromised. In 2020, a username and password is simply not good enough. There are many products out there that provide secure and simple user authentication. One of those products is YubiKey. YubiKey helps to combat one of the biggest security problems: stolen login credentials. The user simply plugs this device into their device, or taps it on their mobile device, and then is logged into their account. YubiKey provides a quick and easy user authentication process that will keep your company’s data much more secure than the basic username and password route.
Applications such as KeePass or LastPass are a great secure solution for credential storage. Simply download either of these free applications to your device and you will be asked each time you create a new login if you’d like to save the credentials to the application’s “vault”. If you select yes, it will save your login information and auto-populate the next time you login. You can access any of your credentials at any time just by logging into your account and viewing all of the credentials saved in the vault.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Keeping your data private on your network is important. Keeping your digital communications secure from 3rd parties extends beyond your network and your computer. VPNs are an easy way to ensure that your traffic is always encrypted on the internet and away from prying eyes.
NordVPN is a great solution to keep your small business secure. VPNs, or virtual private networks, create a secure internet connection to a different network via the internet that allow you to search privately and securely. Using a VPN can also grant you access to sites that are restricted to the public. The NordVPN provides military-grade encryption to ensure that all of your internet data stays safe and secure. Not only is this one of the most secure VPNs on the market, but this easy to use VPN can be turned on with the click of a button making it extremely user-friendly. The NordVPN offers ultra-fast connection speeds, meaning you don’t need to sacrifice speed for security. Another advantage of the NordVPN is that you can include up to 6 different devices per account and if connected to your router it will secure all devices on the network while only using a single space of the 6 allowed. This VPN can also be used and accessed worldwide. Click the button below to see the different options available from Nord.
USB thumb sticks are a very popular way for people to transport data physically. The problem with this is they are easy to lose. You don’t want any 3rd party finding your USB thumb stick in an airport terminal or parking lot and having access to all of your sensitive data. You want your thumb stick to be encrypted.
Apricorn Aegis Secure Key
The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key is designed for those who store important data on flash drives. This product is designed to protect the information saved on your flash drive from being stolen or copied. With traditional flash drives, it is all too easy for others to access the information saved on them. Imagine dropping your flash drive walking through the airport, or an employee simply taking it from your desk while you’re gone. The Secure Key encrypts the data stored on it until you enter your personal key code so no one else is able to access it. This product makes it extremely easy to secure the data you store on it. It takes less than 2 minutes to set up your 7 to 10 digit key code which you enter when you need to access the information you have stored on your drive. Once you’re done, all you need to do is push a button to encrypt the data again and your data is once again secure! Watch the video to the right to learn more about setting up your Secure Key!
In 2020, any good backup strategy unfortunately needs to start with the assumption that your network or computing system gets breached by a criminal. While obviously we want to work as hard as we can to prevent that, when looking specifically at your backup strategy, we don’t want your backups to be available on the same network that got breached. The crudest and easiest way to accomplish this is an external hard drive that is not plugged in. The industry term for this is air-gapping because there is literally air in between the devices because they are not connected.
DIY Air-Gapped Backups
An air gap backup provides small businesses and individuals a secure backup of their data, free from ransomware attacks and hackers. The concept is simple: make a backup of your data to an external hard drive and when you are done, safely remove the device from the computer and store it safely away. Simple, yet effective.
If your business has grown to a point where you’ve hired a professional managed services provider and they’ve rolled out a professional business solution like StorageCraft, you’re probably in great shape when it comes to backups. However, if you are not at the point where you can afford to hire an MSP you still want to strongly consider purchasing an automated cloud backup system for your business. It is critical that you implement 2-factor authentication on the cloud backup so that criminals can’t penetrate it. It is recommended that you audit those backups, possibly even performing a mock restoration from it, to make sure that it is complete and current every 6 months.
Is your business growing to the point where it may be time to think about hiring an MSP? Check out our hiring guide for 30+ questions to ask when hiring a managed service provider.
Whether it be important business data or documents for personal use, it is always a good idea to have backups. You can never be too careful when it comes to backing up your valuable data. Acronis is a great option for backing up data. They provide options for both business use and personal use. Backing up your data with Acronis gives you access to services such as mirror imaging, disk cloning, and access to your cloud backup from any place on any device. Be sure to set up 2 factor authentication when setting up your login preferences. Using an authentication application such as Google Authenticator is free and easy to use. This way, when logging in you will need to provide 2 different forms of login credentials to prevent hackers from easily accessing your data.
Freeze Your Credit
Another smart yet simple thing you can do to increase your digital security is freeze your credit with all 3 of the major credit bureaus. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all allow you to freeze your credit for free, making it so that all access to your credit is restricted. This protects from people trying to steal your identity or damage your credit score. The only downside to freezing your credit score is that you will need to unthaw it during major life events, such as buying a house or a car, so your credit is accessible. This is a minor inconvenience considering the safety that freezing your credit score provides. See the links below to freeze your credit at each of the major credit bureaus.
Having a reliable anti-virus is one extremely important aspect of a well-rounded digital security plan. Anti-virus software protects your devices from viruses and other malware. If you are a larger organization or have a managed service provider you may want to use, or already be using, services from a company such as StorageCraft. For smaller companies and individuals, we recommend Avast. Avast offers some of the best protection on the market. Avast’s anti-virus software also has many other features available, including secure vault password storage and spam and phishing email blocking.
By no means is this a 100% comprehensive list of all the things you should do to protect your data from criminals. But if you have any holes here, this is a great place to start. Most of us have heard the old joke about you don’t need to be faster than the bear you just need to be faster than the human next to you. Most humans have not done these steps. Accomplishing this short list of security-related tasks is a worthy goal for your small organization.