Cybersecurity Tips: Best Practices for Online Security

    January 04 2021  |  News , Best Practices

    creativesummit-planoly-cover2-2

    No matter if you’re a small business owner, large corporation, or a sole proprietor, cybersecurity is critical to the safety and privacy of your business. 

    2021 is an important year for all businesses, and there’s no better way to chart a path to a successful New Year than by first making certain your business operations are safe and secure online. 

    Online security has grown worrisome in recent times. In fact, over the past five years, reported security breaches have increased by 67%. Many of these cyber attacks can have harsh financial and operational repercussions as, unfortunately, security breaches can upend even the strongest business. 

    However, there are far more ways to keep your business safe online than there are reasons to be fearful of cyberattacks. With the right preventative measures, keeping your business and personal information safe from breach isn’t a heavy lift. Today, we’ll walk you through a few simple and effective cybersecurity tips to ensure the safety of your business. You can also share these tips with your employees!

    Passwords, two-step authentications, and simply managing your online connections are all effective ways to prevent attacks on your data and help you steer clear of scammers. Follow along as we dig into a few of these best practices. And on top of that, a few PLANOLY pro tips about safely engaging with our products and services online.

    Cybersecurity Tips #1: Follow Password Best Practices

    When it comes to online security, having a good password is essential. Passwords are your first line of defense in keeping your data safe.

    Make your passwords difficult for anyone other than yourself to figure out. Be sure that your passwords are a minimum of 8 to 12 characters long and feature at least three different characters. Uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols all work!

    Another best practice is to change your passwords frequently. Don’t wait a year to change your passwords. Change them out every 2-3 months. And of course, the most important thing of all: don’t share your passwords with anyone! A largely overlooked aspect of online security is not sharing private information. 

    So, to recap:

    • Passwords should be a minimum length of 8 to 12 characters long
    • Passwords should feature at least three different character sets 
    • Passwords should be changed every 60 to 90 days
    • Don’t share your passwords
    • Don’t use the same password for all your accounts online

    Cybersecurity Tips #2: Enable Two-Step Authentication

    An increasingly common and powerful cybersecurity tool is two-step authentication. It’s just like it sounds: a secure login method that requires users take at least two steps to verify their identity before they can access an account. 

    Oftentimes those two steps can include entering a password followed by verification of a numeric code text to the mobile device linked to the account. Other examples of two-step authentication could be a password followed by identifying a series of objects like cars, trucks, buses, or planes. Even fingerprint authentication is commonly used to authenticate an individual's identity. 

    Whichever method(s) you choose, make sure you enable two-step authentication to safely secure all your accounts.

    Cybersecurity Tips #3: Be Mindful of Phishing

    Phishing scams are becoming far more common online. This happens when someone disguises themselves as a trustworthy business or entity attempting to gather information from you or your employees – like your passwords, account information, usernames, or even credit card or bank account numbers. The most common phishing scams happen through emails and text, claiming to be a company asking you for personal information or wanting you to click on a certain link. 

    Here are a few easy ways you and your employees can avoid phishing scams:

    • Never click on suspicious links
    • Don’t open emails from senders you don’t know or seem suspicious
    • Keep an eye out for spelling and grammar mistakes on suspicious emails
    • Inspect links from senders that you know as they could be hacked
    • Never give unknown email addresses or companies your personal information
    • Don’t click on pop-up ads
    • Use a firewall or an antivirus program on your computer or laptop

    Cybersecurity Tips #4: Carefully Curate Online Connections

    By now, we’ve all had a few fake or spam followers on social media send suspicious messages asking for our personal information. Things like, “You’ve won a cash prize and first need you to mail us a check!” We’ve also all received a shady Direct Message from an Instagram user with a suspicious handle asking about a partnership opportunity. And while it all seems harmless, simply entertaining these accounts or messages opens you up to a potential hack. 

    It’s so important to safely curate your online connections. Be sure to delete connections that seem fishy, have suspicious account names, post repetitive content, or constantly post negative or harmful material. Moreover, if an email or social media message seems odd, has errors in the title, or just gives you a bad feeling, steer clear of any interaction! Be sure your employees do the same when using company resources/equipment.

    Cybersecurity Tips #5: Do Your Research Before You Download, Authorize, Or Follow

    We can access a world of possibilities with the simple click of a button on our laptops and phones. It’s never been easier to download a new app, authorize software, or upload media. But all the same, it’s never been more important to do your research before you take any action online. 

    Research apps before you download them. Read reviews on the app store, check third party trust sites, and look into their website to ensure everything looks legitimate. Make sure you understand what you’re authorizing on your devices, and don’t download media (music, movies, ebooks) from unreliable sources. Also, when at all possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi.

    How to Safely Engage with PLANOLY Online

    Along with preventative cybersecurity measures for your personal accounts and devices, we want you to be able to enjoy PLANOLY online without any security concerns. Here’s how we recommend you safely use our products and services online:

    • Only ever download the PLANOLY app from the Apple Store and Google Play Store, or access our app from our web application on planoly.com
    • All PLANOLY products, plans and add-ons are outlined on our Pricing Page only. Do not trust any product that is not offered on that page.
    • PLANOLY will only email you from our domain planoly.com, so you should only respond to emails that come from our domain and subdomains (example: team@planoly.com or info@news.planoly.com)
    • PLANOLY will only ever take billing or personal information from our planoly.com desktop portal or from the app itself

    As we continue to live more of our lives online, the importance of cybersecurity can’t be overstated. Make sure you take the proper precautions to secure your business resources and personal data!