Take Charge of your Cybersecurity in 2016

Promise yourself that next year you will do more to protect sensitive personal and business information. To help you keep your promise, this week’s column focuses on what's most important for you to know.

Your first priority is to avoid “breach fatigue” so you will be prepared when identity theft hits you or your business. Next, be aware of what's going on in the cybercrime arena to help reduce your risks in 2016.

Cybersecurity need-to-knows

  • Don’t let cybercriminals steal your happy holidays. Use strong and up-to-date Wi-Fi security along with strong password management.
  • The current marketing and advertising practices of identity-theft protection service companies are giving consumers a false sense of security.
  • Cybercriminals are beginning to change and manipulate electronic information to compromise its integrity, accuracy and reliability.
  • Americans are more stressed out about cyberrisk, identity theft and personal privacy than they are about their own personal safety.
  • Cybersecurity threats and attackers are moving faster than ever. Consumers should take advantage of stronger passwords and two-factor authentication.
  • Remember the importance of changing passwords – and not sharing them. This is especially important for college students in a dorm or other shared living.
Small business need-to-knows 
  •  Annual employee education should be the No. 1 priority. Talk to workers about ID-theft and data- breach risks because the threat level is rising and you don't want it to sink your business.
  • Your business needs to complete and implement an information governance plan.
  • It will be no small problem if your data is breached and you're unprepared. Business owners who want to remain in business must take cybersecurity seriously and recognize that one of the biggest threats is within the organization.
  • The challenges of a data breach event can include complex federal and state breach notification laws, and most small businesses lack the financial and human resources to respond. Cyberinsurance can support your risk-management objectives.
  • Crisis preparedness is a significant issue weighing on chief financial officers, with cyberattacks cited as "the most threatening potential crisis.”
  • Create, test and update your business' written information security and governance policy annually, including penetration testing and a simulated data-breach event.
  • A company’s cybersecurity is a team effort. Coordination is critical because criminals will try to exploit weak links, especially in small businesses.
  • Crisis preparedness is a significant issue with “cyberattacks cited as the most threatening potential crisis.”

Just as we do things to prevent fire or from being robbed, we must do all we can to avoid being an identity theft victim. In next week’s column I'll offer guidance focused on personal privacy and identity theft for 2016.

Mark’s most important: Ring in 2016 with stronger cyber- and ID-theft prevention measures because cybercriminals are focusing their 2016 efforts as you read this.

 

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