National cybersecurity month

Since 2004, The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has recognized October as National Cybersecurity Month. Cybersecurity remains a relevant issue for businesses and consumers alike. We rely on our phones, computers and even our watches for everyday tasks. However, we also trust these devices with our most sensitive information. Mobile payment and banking apps require financial information which is sent electronically. Hard copies of important documents and valued photos are becoming rare, because they can be easily stored on phones and laptops. 

Technology gives us more convenience and fewer limits. Unfortunately, that can apply to hackers and scammers too. Better Business Bureau, along with NCSA, has gathered these five steps to better cybersecurity:

• Identify. Take inventory of the main devices and technologies you use and what information you would need to rebuild from scratch if a device were lost or destroyed. It also helps to know the manufacturer, make, model and serial number of your most important devices.

• Protect. Assess which protective measures you need to have in place in the event of a cyber incident, either personally or for your business. Protective measures can include:

- Installing security updates and patches.

- Backing up your systems and data.

- Using encrypted Wi-Fi with a strong password.

- Opting for two-factor authentication on your devices.

• Detect. There are measures that can be put in place to detect potential or current threats to your system. You should also regularly monitor your email, network, desktop and storage for signs of unusual activity. If you have a business system used by multiple people, train your employees on the signs of cyber security threats and how to detect them.

• Respond. You should make and practice a response plan to have in the event of a cyberattack. This plan should involve utilizing spares and backups, knowing how to stop the attack and whom to contact for help.

• Recover. Have a recovery plan ready for when the incident is over. Depending on your technology uses, this plan could be as simple as accessing your files in the cloud or could be much more complicated. Knowing how you will recover ahead of time will save you stress down the road.

Stay secure online, and to learn more about these five steps, visit us at bbb.org.

Emily Gaines is a public relations coordinator for the Better Business Bureau office in Austin. 

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