Converging Privacy and Cybersecurity Brings Tighter Workplace Practices for Companies

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Click to learn more about author Ashok Sharma.

It is ironic to witness the rate of cyberattacks, data breaches, and unauthorized use of personal data growing directly proportional to laws being established to regulate the collection, use, retention, disclosure, and disposal of personal information worldwide. With the growing use of big data, AI, and machine learning, the gap between privacy and security strongly converges to the point where data access without authorization has become a global threat.

Just thinking about our digital space being intruded by unauthorized access makes one constantly worried about leaking what was supposed to be private and secure. The once-distinct lines between privacy and security now seem to be blurring. This must ring warning bells for businesses small and large, as well as safety and privacy practitioners in general.

Why? Because technical people will have to familiarize themselves with legal and compliance mandates, the legal and privacy personnel will need to get neck-deep into technical aspects to understand this blurriness between privacy and security.

Secure Workplace Practices

Digital safety should be made a daily habit for your employees, and your company needs to establish guidelines around it. The safe work practices include:

1. Update software

If your system is outdated and the applications are not updated on time, it can be vulnerable to attacks. You need to train your employees to make sure they know how to install software updates and patches for the operating system.

If the application is updated on time, there’ll be no security issues in the software. Every application or software is vulnerable, and if you don’t take necessary precautions, it jeopardizes your entire organization.

Employees should know how to keep the system information secure and how they deal with security. Going over the improved protocols will arm your employees with knowledge of safety and protect your company.

2. Use virtual private networks

A virtual private network system can firmly secure your company’s data. It encrypts the traffic entering or leaving your devices, and if someone intercepts your site information, they will be left with encrypted data.

VPN is the best choice for creating a secure network connection using a public network. It’s essential to keep the online activity safeguarded from security issues – like Firesheep and Wifi spoofing. It works as a firewall, which protects your data when you’re online.

VPN reduces the risk of cyberattacks and security breaches. Using VPN and keeping your company employees off the public networks, you’ll take a big step in keeping your data safe. It encourages productivity, as your employees are well aware of all the vulnerabilities of the internet. Best VPN for torrenting reduces risk on torrent websites.

If you collect data from clients, it can keep your data secure. VPN is a budget-friendly option for security and the most reliable choice for mid-size and big business firms that don’t want to compromise on the security part.

3. Make strong passwords

You need to teach your employees that excellent security begins with the best password. A reputable password management application helps in creating passwords for the company. It stores all the passwords in one place and allows people to generate complex and random passwords they don’t need to memorize.

A single password will help to unlock the application, which saves time. Ask your employees to create passwords that are 10 to 11 characters long and that include symbols, lowercase, uppercase, and numbers. It is a known fact that a strong password can stop cyber thieves from accessing the information of the company records. Simple passwords give them easy access.

Most companies may require multifactor authentication with access to sensitive network areas. This adds to the protective layer and provides temporary codes that can be sent to smartphones.

4. Protect the data

Cyber criminals can replicate email addresses and websites and make them look legitimate. Hackers and spammers can take over the social media accounts of the company. You must train your employees not to leak the company’s sensitive information, intellectual property, or data.

Even if it’s accidental sharing, failing to protect trade secrets can get your company in trouble. You need to cover topics such as how to destroy the data that is no longer needed. Train your employees to report suspicious data or ransomware.

How to Make Cybersecurity Awareness Important

Most companies do not follow a culture of cybersecurity. The education and training will not help secure your business practices unless there is a proper awareness of cybersecurity.

Consider these guidelines for increasing awareness:

  • Reward programs: Encourage your employees to create a safe cybersecurity environment by offering them rewards. It works like any other reward or award you provide to your employees for outstanding work. The employees who report phishing emails and suspicious links can be rewarded at the end of the month. It is a great way to increase cybersecurity practice in an organization.
  • Compliance programs: Make changing passwords a regular habit for your employees. Ask them to change passwords every three to four months. It works like getting an oil change in your car. Ensure all of the organization’s employees are doing what they need to do to keep the passwords secure.
  • Accountability plans: If your organization’s employees play blame games for a spam attack on the company’s system, it could lead to further disputes. You need to train and encourage your employees to gently hold each other accountable, ensuring that the compliance works at the best practice. Encourage your employees to have an open conversation regarding cybersecurity and other threats. Create an anonymous reporting system where your employees can report a breach in security. Appoint a cybersecurity advocate for your company; it will ensure that your employees remain motivated.

Must-Have Workplace Cybersecurity Habits

Even if you incorporate and integrate comprehensive security measures, your business will not remain immune to cyber risks. All businesses need to take some steps to protect their organizations online.

Here are some cybersecurity habits you should know:

1. Regular backups: It is essential to make regular backups of your data and make offsite copies of the file. Also, update them from time to time. 

2. Antivirus and malware software: Install a new licensed antivirus and malware software in your system and all the devices. Update it regularly or renew it when the expiry date ends.

3. Security patches: You need to apply security patches for operating systems and software. Download the security patches manually or auto-update them.

4. Encrypt sensitive data: Make sure you encrypt your company’s sensitive data and don’t send encrypted data via emails.

5. Fishy links: Do not click on links that seem to be fishy. Be cautious of links that are sent to you via emails or social media platforms. You need to be careful of unfamiliar websites.

6. Install a firewall: Install and use a firewall, and make sure that it has the latest firmware installed. Update it when it is required to keep total security control of your system.

7. Hold security training: New patterns and threats in security emerge each day. Regular security training is essential on an enterprise level. Ensure the training covers topics like security patches that allow malicious activity in the system and ways to get over them.

8. Verify informational and financial transactions: Verify these transactions and talk to higher-level authorities before dealing with such transactions. Train your employees so that they never send sensitive data without a password.

9. Prioritize security risks: The solution revolves around active communication. The company needs to prioritize all the security risks and threats and find a feasible solution.

10. Conduct periodic assessments: Conduct a systematic evaluation of your antivirus software, and test employees’ knowledge. Check whether the safety software is working fine and is well updated. The employees’ knowledge plan will help you check the weaknesses and add training measures.

11. Get rid of stale data: Stale data poses a significant risk to your company’s sensitive data. Purge your database of data that is no longer needed.

12. Zero trust model: If you need to work on a highly confidential project, implement the zero trust model. It will segment the network access and isolate applications that will access based on user permission and authentication.

13. Cybersecurity experts: Trained professionals can lay out the basics and explain to your employees the ethics of cybersecurity. You can rope in the experts during training programs.

14. Cutting-edge security: Stay on cutting-edge security models, and always keep your employees prepared for new threats and attacks via open communication.

As we create a humongous amount of data – an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes every day – the issues involving workplace cybersecurity and privacy will only become more pertinent with passing time. Newer technologies indeed offer better security and privacy, but at the same time, they also open up new vulnerabilities and concerns. Therefore, businesses worldwide need to strictly promote compliance to privacy and data security right from the beginning, so that the risk can be mitigated right from the start.

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