5 Must-Do’s to Stay Safe on the Internet in 2020

by | Blog, Business, Marketing

It’s not often that we discuss Internet safety in the marketing world, strictly speaking.

But since I teach and live by the axiom that everything is marketing, I think there’s an important connection that should not be missed, and my experience working in IT and Internet security-related roles allows for a unique experience and perspective.

Why does this matter?

Let’s consider a security threat known as ransomware. In a nutshell, ransomware installs malicious code on a client computer, moves quickly to infect the rest of the network, and begins encrypting (locking down) all files.

In order to gain access to the files again, the malicious party demands a ransom be paid (usually via a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin), which is usually not cheap.

This stuff hits close to home, too. Mecklenburg County, just a couple hours down the road from me, was hit just over a year ago.

If it wasn’t bad enough, this sort of attack is now escalating, with seemingly no end in sight. And make no mistake—this stuff is a PR disaster, as one IT service provider quite recently discovered.

In explaining the gravity of the event above, security researcher Brian Krebs writes:

Tragically, there is evidence to suggest that patient outcomes can suffer even after the dust settles from a ransomware infestation at a healthcare provider. New research indicates hospitals and other care facilities that have been hit by a data breach or ransomware attack can expect to see an increase in the death rate among certain patients in the following months or years because of cybersecurity remediation efforts.

This is just one kind of attack we are all susceptible to, nevermind phishing attempts, data breaches, keyloggers, et cetera, all of which are things that can lead to a marketing and PR nightmare for your company, no matter how big or small.

Fortunately, there are some “must-do’s” that, if you do them, will heighten your awareness and lead to tighter control and safety around your Internet activities.

1. Understand the Situation

As G.I. Joe used to say, “knowing is half the battle.”

Educating yourself around the potential risks/rewards of doing business online must include knowledge of Internet security in 2020.

There are organizations like KnowBe4 and Cybrary that are dedicated to providing this knowledge at different levels, and you’d be well-advised to take advantage of their resources.

2. Clarify Your Priorities

To their detriment, many organizations do not place an emphasis on a heightened security posture.

Still have a spreadsheet full of passwords? Recycle the same ones on all of your sites? Do you have policies in place to protect your company from its own employees’ Internet activities?

These things must be made a priority for your organization, or you’ll just become more and more vulnerable each day.

3. Put Reasonable Protections in Place

You can’t be expected to spend what some large corporations spend on security protections, and I get that.

But there should be some “no brainers” that certainly include, but are not limited to, cybersecurity insurance, acceptable use and password policies, a password manager, an email gateway, a firewall, and virus/spyware/malware protection.

4. Mind Your Associates

The old adage “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” applies.

For our purposes, this simply means you cannot be “hands-off” with respect to internal and external business dealings.

Someone has to pay attention to security in all of your transactions, processes, and communications.

5. Measure Twice, Cut Once

More timeless truth; seriously though, most bad guys get in because of careless “decisions” on the part of regular users.

An employee who kept an unprotected password spreadsheet, or clicked a malicious email link. Seriously, it’s that simple to end up in a MAJOR predicament.

Education is vital to eradicating this problem in your organization—again, no matter how big or small. No enterprise is immune.

Careful attention and thought given to the best practices above will place you miles ahead of others.

Avoid becoming a target for as long as you possibly can if you want to keep a clean reputation and footprint online.

In marketing terms, this closely relates to something known as “reputation management.” If an incident were to occur, what would your public response look like?

This is such an important issue—if you’re concerned because you don’t know what steps to take to make sure your company is doing it right, I want to help.

Click here to book a call with me today. It’s free! Let’s set you up for a profitable (and safe!) 2020 and beyond.

To your success!

— Steve


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