Everyday, and especially in recent months, you hear about big companies like Marriott, Dunkin Donuts, Google+, and more experiencing data breaches. While these breaches are bad, these companies have the funds and resources to recover without serious damage. What you don’t hear about are the millions of small businesses around the country and around the world also being attacked. These businesses on the other hand, don’t have the funds and resources to bounce back, and in most cases, they end up having to declare bankruptcy and close their doors. If you are one of the few whose business hasn’t been attacked yet (because it isn’t a matter of if, but when) you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of steps you can take to keep you, your business, and your devices secure while traveling this holiday season.
1. Patch and Update Your Devices
Always make sure that your computer is patched and up to date with the most currently available operating system and application software. This one step alone reduces the risks from your system being vulnerable to getting malicious software installed on it which could capture your keyboard strokes to be used to gain access to all of your local and online accounts.
2. Update Your Antivirus and Anti-Malware
Make sure that you have an updated antivirus application and antimalware as well. It is very important to keep these programs as up to date as possible. These two programs monitor the files that are on your computer or trying to get on to your computer. Not having these in place allows for malicious files and programs to get onto your system via the web, email, file transfers or just being on a wireless network that is not properly secured. Be careful of the free versions that you choose or that may pop up on your screen, these may be malicious. Trust the big-name companies such as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, Webroot, Bit Defender, Avast, Malwarebytes.
3. Practice Good Wi-Fi Habits
Just because you get on a wireless network with no password does not mean it is a good idea. Sometimes, malicious users setup wireless for free in areas that try to trick you to get on it. Once you are on it, where you go is being captured. All the keystrokes you type are now being seen. To avoid this type of situation happening to you, don’t use wireless access (Wi-Fi) that you are not familiar with. If you have to, such as at a coffee shop, airport or hotel, avoid, logging into banking or credit card sites to be sure. It is best to consider using a VPN client when you have to connect to an unknown of open Wi-Fi network. Such software is available to be used on the system and is a good way to protect where you go online and what you are doing. This VPN client encrypts your information while on the wireless network. Check out NordVPN, TunnelBear VPN, KeepSolid VPN.
4. Backup Your Data Before You Leave
This one is simple, make sure you run a backup of all of your files and data before you take off for holiday travel. Whether it be a malicious attack, or your device gets damaged or stolen, you’ll be happy to know that your important information is safe and sound back home.
5. Utilize Two Factor Authentication
Two Factor Authentication, or 2FA, is a great way to add an extra layer of security, even if you’re not traveling. 2FA requires you to prove your identity in more than one way by using three methods. You can use something you know, like a username and password. Something you are, like a fingerprint or retina scan. Or you can use something you have, like a smartphone and an authentication app. This way, anyone trying to meddle in your business won’t get very far.