It seems as though every bit of information is going online.  This data shift is true for law firms, tax professionals and everyday people.  Professionals and laymen now rely on the cloud and the web for seemingly everything.  Web and computer-reliance certainly improves efficiency yet it also poses some security challenges.  Hackers have a plethora of tools at their disposal.  Everything from viruses to bots, malware and ransomware can take over a computer or server, steal data or even block user access to the system until a bitcoin ransom is paid.  If you handle any sort of sensitive information, follow these tips for improved cyber security.

 

Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is an absolute-must for attorneys, tax professionals and others responsible for storing important data.  This protection method forces the returning user to type in his or her username and password along with an additional information nugget.  As an example, a security code can be texted to the user’s phone for entry following the initial username/password login.

 

Encrypt all Drives

Full-disk encryption is essential for protecting sensitive client and business data.  Drive encryption software converts confidential data to illegible files so unauthorized parties cannot view or modify the information.  Some drive encryption software even encrypts thumb drives and other removable media.

 

Anti-virus Software

Anti-virus software scans your CPU’s memory or specific files to identify distinct patterns that reveal the presence of malware or other harmful software.  Study the features of available anti-virus packages before making a commitment.  Don’t forget to scan your computer from time-to-time after installing the anti-virus package.

 

Firewalls are Your Friend

Firewalls safeguard your CPU or even your entire network against threats as well as unnecessary traffic.  Network firewalls, also known as hardware, are placed between computers and the web.  Hardware firewalls can protect numerous CPUs.  The majority of operating systems are provided with an internal firewall that simply has to be enabled.  It is also possible to add firewall software with the assistance of a software vendor or a local computer services provider.  If you ever have any doubt about the safety of firewall softwar, double check to ensure the source is secure, respected and highly-rated.

 

Backup Software and Services

Client data should be backed up with regularity.  This data must also be encrypted so hackers cannot steal or modify such sensitive data.  Backup options include external disks and copies of files stored on the web.

 

Security Software Should be Updated With Regularity

It will not prove egregiously difficult or time-consuming to set up security software to receive the latest updates.  In fact, these updates can be added automatically so you do not have to go out of your way each time a new update is available.  If any pop-up windows or email links suggest software to combat spying, viruses, ransomware or other threats, do not click them!  Such pop-ups are scams that will transmit malware to your computer and pilfer your valuable data.

 

 

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