Five Cybersecurity Tips for CEOs: Tech Triumphs and Treacheries
I’m a huge fan of using tech to turbocharge organizations. Yet, I also strive to live firmly within the real world, which means acknowledging the very real downsides of technology. One of those downsides is the need for constant vigilance, a point driven home by the case of a recently compromised client’s vendor.
While I’m not a cybersecurity expert, I do understand a few basic best practices. Let’s dive in.
Remember strolling through Blockbuster, deciding between “Die Hard” and “The Princess Bride”? Or the thrill of hearing the dial-up tone while connecting to the internet? Ah, simpler times. Just as we’ve transitioned from VHS to Netflix and dial-up to Wi-Fi, so too has the landscape of security changed, requiring us to be more vigilant than ever.
Here’s the reality. Cybercrime is an untamed beast running wild through the digital savannah where your business also roams. However, by taking some precautions, you don’t have to fall victim to it.
How to Avoid Falling Prey to Cybercriminals
Here are five cybersecurity tips as accessible as your favorite streaming service and as practical as Bruce Willis in a tight spot.
1. Stay Alert to Phishing Schemes
Imagine this — you’ve just received an email, and the subject line screams urgency. It’s from your CFO, asking you to confirm your password for a critical financial system. Or perhaps it’s an email from a trusted business partner requesting a change in bank routing numbers for your next payment.
Pause. Take a breath.
Is this a genuine request? Probably not. It could be a phishing scheme, a cyber scam tactic whereby the criminal impersonates a trusted individual (or takes over their actual account) to obtain sensitive data. Always verify such requests through a separate communication channel, like a quick phone call or text.
2. Update Software Regularly
You know those annoying update notifications that pop up just as you’re about to win your online chess game? They’re actually important. Software updates often contain patches for security vulnerabilities. Neglecting these updates is akin to leaving your front door open while you’re on vacation. As bothersome as updates might be, embrace them — they’re your digital house sitters.
3. Encourage a Cybersecurity Culture
It’s not enough to have a handful of techies safeguarding your organization. Cybersecurity needs to be an everyone practice, much like everyone in your house should know not to open the door to strangers. Regular training and updates about cyber threats can help create a culture of cybersecurity vigilance. Find a vendor that specializes in this field. Place them on retainer and have them conduct periodic tests of your people and systems.
4. Implement Strong Password Policies
“Password123” might seem like a foolproof choice, but it’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Encourage…no, require!…the use of complex passwords and consider implementing multi-factor authentication. It adds an extra layer of security, like a moat around your digital castle. Password managers are also a solid investment and whatever you do, please don’t re-use passwords across accounts.
5. Backup Your Data
Imagine you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect playlist for your high school reunion, and suddenly your computer crashes, taking your ’80s nostalgic magic with it. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Now, amplify that feeling a thousand times — that’s what losing your business data feels like. Regularly backing up your data can save you from this turmoil and spare you the trauma I experienced reinitializing a system from improperly maintained tape backups using nothing but gumption and voodoo.
What’s Your Plan for Keeping Your Data Safe?
Riding the wave of technological advancement is thrilling — it’s a wild ride akin to navigating the white-water rapids of progress. But in the midst of all that excitement, it’s crucial to hold on tight and take measures to protect yourself from the lurking dangers.
Just as Bruce Willis wouldn’t take on Hans Gruber without a plan, please don’t navigate the digital world without a robust cybersecurity strategy. Stay vigilant. And as always, if you want to chat about your cybersecurity concerns or just wax nostalgic about the good ol’ days of dial-up internet and Blockbuster nights, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help.