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Over the past year, Canadians have faced many challenges with the way we approach the world of work, networking, and daily activities. With these difficulties, two groups, in particular, have faced unique challenges- kids, and small and medium businesses.

For the fourth week of Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), we will explore working and networking by focusing on:

  • Keeping kids and families safe online
  • Running a cyber-safe business

Keeping Kids and Families Safe Online

With pandemic restrictions limiting the person capacity of spaces, many schools have transitioned to online learning. Kids are now staying home for longer periods of time and are missing their friends and in-person activities. With more time spent using technology for learning, it’s important to keep cyber security in mind to keep kids and families safe online.

Smart devices do a great job of making our lives more convenient. For example, kids can now turn to their smart speaker and ask for homework help (“Hey Google, what is 2 x 2?”), learn about any topic of their choosing, play music, and more! But, just like other internet-connected devices, smart devices can give potential cybercriminals access to our information. Some common risks of owning a smart device can include hacking and privacy issues.

man-working-remotely-from-home-with-kids-remote-learning-school

The following tips are some ways that you can protect your smart devices:

Change the default settings

Rename your smart devices and create complex passphrases for your Wi-Fi network. Follow best practices for securing your Wi-Fi networks such as avoiding information that can be easily guessed such as names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Update your devices

Keep your devices and operating systems updated by frequently updating the software and applications. When the option is available, be sure to turn on automatic updates so that you know your software is always up to date.

Use a separate network

You can limit the damage of a potential cyberattack by creating a guest network for your smart devices. Keeping your smart devices on a separate network will keep your data associated with the devices separate from your main network.

To create a separate network, turn on the guest network in your settings, and give the new network a unique name and password. Then save your settings and connect your devices to the new network.

Use only what you need

When not in use, smart device features such as Bluetooth, location services, cameras, and microphones should be turned off. When your devices are not in use, be sure that you have them in lock mode. For devices that are only used occasionally, disconnect it from the internet when not in use.

mother-working-from-home-with-daughter-learning-remotely

Running a Cyber Safe Business

Whether you’re working at the office or remotely, cyber security practices should be taken seriously. Businesses of every size can be a target of cyber crimes such as ransomware, phishing, and malware. While not completely unavoidable, proactive measures should be taken to avoid cybercrime and protect your business networks.

There are a few things that small, medium and large businesses should consider to keep safe from online threats. The first and most important thing to note is that cyber security is a team effort that requires action from management and employees. Having a clear cyber security plan in place ensures that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to avoiding and dealing with threats like phishing attempts.

A cybersecurity plan works to educate yourself as a business owner and your employees to keep your business network secure.

What should you include in a cybersecurity plan for your business?

To best prepare your business and your employees for cybersecurity, your cybersecurity plan should establish:

What can you do to improve your business’s internal cybersecurity awareness?

  1. Implement Email Best Practices: Combat the inevitability of cybersecurity breach attempts through email by communicating best practices with your employees. Practices such as: separating internal and external emails, prohibition of all unknown email link clicks and keeping an updated SPAM filter.
  2. Educate Your Team: Ensure that your team understands what is at stake with a business’s cybersecurity. Highlight case studies to show your team how poor cyber habits cost other businesses and share examples of what an attempted cyberattack looks like.
  3. Implement Information Regulations: Create strict rules on when it is appropriate for an employee to give out personal, sensitive or business-related information through any form of electronic communication or online medium.
  4. Implement Browser Best Practices: Combat the inevitability of cybersecurity breach attempts through online websites by communicating browser best practices with your employees. Practices such as firewall implementation, browser monitoring/usage limitations and education on online safety features (such as SSL).
  5. Implement Personal Account Regulations: Create regulations surrounding what personal accounts employees can and cannot access on the business network (such as personal banking and email accounts).

When creating your cybersecurity plan, empowering your employees by assigning specific roles can help keep the team motivated to follow the plan.

Stay Safe Online 

Although Cyber Security Awareness Month is coming to an end, it’s important to prioritize cyber security practices all year round. For more tips on how to stay safe online, be sure to check out all of our CSAM articles:

For all your cyber security needs, AlphaKOR is proud to be your trusted IT expert! Talk to our team today about strengthening your cyber security efforts.

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