October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. At Black Lion, we thought it would be a good time to let everyone know a few general tips that can go a long way in protecting your business as well as your personal information from would-be hackers. It’s important to note that no security is 100%, but there are safeguards you can put in place to keep yourself and your business as safe as possible.

Create New Passwords

One of the most prevalent issues that we find is that people use one, or a small number, of passwords for all their accounts. We cannot recommend strongly enough to NEVER repeat ANY passwords on any accounts. Once that password has been breached online, all your accounts become vulnerable.

We get it, that’s probably going to be a lot of passwords to remember, as one study suggests that the average person has around 80 accounts that require passwords. Remembering these passwords, however, has been made a lot easier due to various software programs or apps where you only need to remember one password and it saves all your account passwords inside a secure, encrypted location. The peace of mind tools like these can provide is second to none.

Enable Two-Factor

Another great way to keep your accounts and business protected is to enable two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires a code to be sent to either an e-mail address or phone number, or the use of one of several authenticator apps, to log into the account. This ensures that nobody has access to the account except for you.

Recent studies have shown that an average of 280 days pass before security breaches are known to the user, so two-factor authentication also comes with the bonus of alerting you whenever someone is trying to access your account.

Auto-Update Your Software

A good general tip is to turn on “auto-update” on your software and programs that you or your business use every day. New hacking methods are being developed daily to take advantage of vulnerabilities found in older versions of software, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve by making sure your apps and software are automatically updating with all the latest security patches.

Train Your Staff

As technology continues to become more prevalent in all types of business, it is vital to take the time to train all your staff in some basic cybersecurity principles. One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is to educate them on phishing and ransomware e-mails. You can have all the spam filtering in the world, but if a ransomware e-mail comes through to one of your employees and they aren’t properly trained, then you could potentially have a very serious problem on your hands. A good rule of thumb is, when in doubt, NEVER click on anything that you aren’t 100% sure about.