4 Cybersecurity Protection Tips for Home & Business Owners

Cybersecurity and privacy are central issues facing Utah’s business community and homeowners. So what can you do to protect your family and your business?

During Utah Valley University’s cybersecurity panel, Global Challenges in Cybersecurity: Protection, Privacy and Freedom of the Press, Good4Utah’s Brittany Johnson spoke to some of the experts and found that whether you’re trying to protect your home or business, the principles are the same.

Elaina Maragakis, Shareholder and Co-Chair of Cybersecurity and Privacy, Ray Quinney & Nebeker Attorneys at Law, has the following tips:

Identify your information assets: “figure out what it is that you have, what is confidential and what you want to protect.”
Figure out how you’re protecting it: “if there are confidential financial planning documents in your home or if you’re a ‘mom and pop’ shop and you have personnel records, where are you keeping those? Are they in locked filing cabinets? Who has access to them?”
Be able to detect any potential intrusions on those systems
Be able to recover and restore when there is any sort of breach
Protecting your home or business from cyber attacks doesn’t have to be expensive. Maragakis said the basic steps can be the most inexpensive part of protection.

“What you can do is begin planning and take it one step at a time. Start by securing your most confidential data and then have a plan for how you might upgrade your computer systems or how you might upgrade your security systems. Maybe that means additional locks on your door if you’re in an office building. Maybe that means looking at your vendor contracts. Those are all very small steps. The most important step you can take that’s fairly inexpensive is to train your employees to recognize suspicious emails because that’s an easy way people can get into your network. If people are aware, that is the biggest vulnerability that you can seal off for the least amount of money.”

“You don’t necessarily have to be worried about the foreign hackers, you sometimes have to be worried about negligence in your own organization–not from bad seeds or rogue employees necessarily, but just from people who are acting innocently and want to click on a tempting email.”

“Some of this is about employee training and developing policies,” said Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “While that can take people off the job for a little bit, it’s not vastly expensive to start to develop a culture of cybersecurity within your organization and make sure people aren’t clicking links that they shouldn’t or have strong passwords, or following the company’s policies about what websites they’re allowed to visit during work from the work network.”

Think of it this way, “What are the crown jewels of your business and are you protecting that?” asked Kaiser.

“That’s usually something that if you lost it or lost access to it or couldn’t use it anymore, that might really damage your business in a way that you couldn’t operate in a period of time until it’s restored.”

According to Kaiser, small businesses are often more of a target of a cyber attack than large businesses or corporations, because they are the gateways to the larger businesses.

“The bad guys know to try to come for me {small businesses} maybe to create, steal the email credentials of the CEO, then send an email to the larger business that looks like it comes from the CEO of the smaller business and use that email as a phishing attack to put malware on that system or those kinds of things.”

“Smaller businesses often are attacked because they also may seem to not have as many security procedures in place as larger businesses.”

Tuesday’s National Cybersecurity Expert Panel was hosted by UVU in conjunction with Data Privacy Day, an international campaign led by NCSA and recognized annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.

Matthew Holland, President, Utah Valley University, said as an educational institution, it’s imperative for the school to be involved in cybersecurity issues.

“We’ve embraced it as a real priority to be a real thought-leader and a contributor to the issues of cybersecurity today.”

The Cybersecurity Program at UVU, which works with the Center for National Security Studies at UVU, was established in 2012 with the help of a $3 million federal grant from the United States Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The program covers topics such as advanced technical studies, managing cybersecurity operations, and cybersecurity’s role in the global community.


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