Cyber criminals, disgruntled or careless insiders, malicious crackers and rogue nation-states stalk the Internet for valuable information to steal from organizations and individuals with relative impunity. Computer crime remains a low-risk and high pay-off crime.
Is it finally time to get serious about stopping the threat? Absolutely Yes!
How can individuals or companies improve digital security? You can do so by taking a few basic steps, right now, to improve your computer and network security. Listed below are a few inexpensive measures:
1. Businesses, organizations and individuals must develop and use a security plan aimed to protect all information assets and devices.
2. Treat your plan as a business process and follow security best practices.
3. Increase the level of security awareness among your family members, friends and employees.
Let's examine a brief explanation of each:
Develop a Security Plan – You must identify what information you have that is at risk, develop a plan to mitigate the risk and follow through to protect it. This statement is true for individuals and organizations.
You remain vulnerable to a computer security breach if you haven't studied what you could lose and devised a systematic plan to protect your critical assets. Failing to do so assures the success of an attack.
Follow Security Best Practices – Implementing a security plan, based upon industry best practices, should be considered a business process. Determining the information assets that need to be protected and who should have access to them is a major component of your plan.
A security best practice would also be to limit the number of people who are given access to selected information. Then provide a means of authenticating the identity of authorized users.
Enhance Security Awareness – Employees and individuals need to be made aware of threats and vulnerabilities to the system. Most people are unaware of the scope of the information assurance challenge and need to be familiarized with common threats.
One of the best defenses against computer security breaches is a well-prepared user. Cyber criminals and other unauthorized people need to identify vulnerabilities and exploit them in order to attack. Users, following simple techniques, can limit the success of cyber criminals who would break-in to valuable systems. For example, using complex passwords (at least 11 characters in length with upper and lowercase letters and a special character) can reduce the chances of a security breach.
Implementing a comprehensive security awareness program can dramatically reduce risks. Family members and employees should be briefed on how their actions can affect an information system's vulnerability. Think of security awareness as being an excellent first-line defense against those who would attempt to attack your system.
There is a large number of current and emerging security concerns that should be addressed. Threats against information assets are increasing dramatically. People must now begin to take steps to secure confidential information before they, their businesses, customers or family members are harmed. The security challenges being raised are becoming more complex. The vulnerabilities associated with mobile computing and the arrival of the "Internet of Things" are starting to overwhelm us all. Now is the time to wake up and take direct action.