Written by Guest Contributor: Carla Lopez

The internet makes life easier in many ways. From online shopping to remote learning and working from home, all kinds of tasks are simplified when you can get online. However, the internet also opens people up to new threats. IP Services provides cybersecurity services and resources to help individuals and business owners protect their data from cybercriminals. The below guide provides a quick introduction to cybersecurity for beginners.

What Cybersecurity Means For You

Many people assume that cybersecurity is only an issue for major corporations and big businesses. In fact, everyday individuals and smaller companies are frequent targets of cyber attacks. This is precisely because they tend to be less concerned with cybersecurity and don’t exercise proper precautions, making them easy targets. Cybersecurity measures can help you prevent theft and damage of data, personal information, and more.

The first step in combating cybersecurity in your home or business is understanding the risks. Frequent sources of risk include malware, emotet, denial of service, SQL injection, and phishing. This guide from Online Degrees explains what the terms mean and how to recognize them. For example, phishing attacks usually come in the form of fake communications like emails that seek to steal your data, like credit card information.

Steps You Can Take To Stay Safe Online

As an individual, the small steps you take in your everyday online and technology habits can help protect you against cybersecurity risks. Start by making sure your WiFi network for your home or business is secured with a strong password. Also, change the password every few months for added safety. You may also want to add a personal firewall. PCMag explains that this adds another layer of protection to your WiFi network.

When selecting a password for your WiFI, make it a strong one. Steer clear of easy-to-guess codes that incorporate readily available data like your name or address. Also, make sure your passwords incorporate letters, numbers, and symbols. You can use these rules of thumb when setting passwords for your technological tools like phones and laptops as well. They are also applicable when setting passwords for online accounts.

You can further protect your devices by always updating them. Most operating systems will send you a notification when it’s time for an update. While it can be tempting to ignore those alerts and move on with your day, this is a recipe for disaster. These updates often contain modifications to address security concerns, so it’s important to take advantage of them. Failing to do so opens you up to predators.

Additional Considerations For Business Owners

Business owners have additional considerations when it comes to cybersecurity. A data breach can cause significant damage to your brand, for example, if sensitive company data or customer details are leaked. You may also lose productivity, money, and valuable time, as you have to recover data. ZenBusiness explains that you may even be held liable in case of security leaks that impact your customers.

In addition to following the above cybersecurity tips, communicate best practices to your employees. Provide IT guidance on things like setting passwords to ensure everyone is aware. Further, small businesses are advised to have a disaster recovery plan. This is a set plan you can execute to recover data and minimize risk if your business is the subject of a cyber attack. For example, it could cover points like how you backup your documents.

Finally, keep the cost of cybersecurity solutions in mind. Hiring and training an internal team is a huge expense. Because digital threats and the solutions for combating them (like artificial intelligence programs) are constantly evolving, businesses spend a lot of money keeping their internal experts up to date. Typically, small companies should look externally for companies that specialize in cybersecurity and that bear the burden of these ongoing costs themselves.

The digital world is full of possibilities and makes everyday life easier in many ways. However, it can also present risks. Educating yourself about potential threats is the first step in protecting yourself. The above guide can help.

For more tips and tricks for exercising good cybersecurity practices, check out the IP Services blog. You’ll find useful content for individuals and businesses alike.