Cybersecurity Risks: Critical Questions Every CEO Should Be Asking

Image of various technology devices that could pose cybersecurity risks.

As technology continues to evolve, cybersecurity risks and threats continue to grow in sophistication and complexity. These threats affect businesses of all sizes and require the attention and involvement of chief executive officers (CEOs) and other senior leaders.

To help companies understand their cybersecurity risks and prepare for cyber threats, CEOs should discuss key risk management topics with their leadership and implement cybersecurity best practices geared toward risk mitigation.

What should CEOs know about the cybersecurity threats their companies face?

CEOs should ask the following questions about potential cybersecurity threats:

  • How could cybersecurity threats affect the different functions of my business, including areas such as supply chain, public relations, finance, and human resources?
  • What type of critical information could be lost (e.g., trade secrets, customer data, research, personally identifiable information)?
  • How can my business create long-term resiliency to minimize our cybersecurity risks?
  • What kind of cyber threat information sharing does my business participate in? With whom does my business exchange this information?
  • What type of information sharing practices could my business adopt that would help foster community among the different cybersecurity groups where my business is a member?

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Mobile Device Management: How To Enhance Business Success

Image of mobile devices showing a laptop, smart watch, mobile phone and wireless speakers

Do You Allow Employees To Use Their Own Devices For WorThe evolution of personal mobile devices and the rise of how necessary they are to business success these days are forcing many small business owners to make a choice – “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) vs. “Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled” (COPE).

The Typical Solution – BYOD

In today’s business environment, a lot of small-business employees use their personal mobile devices (mobile phones, tablet and laptop computers etc.) for work. While this is convenient for both parties, the main issue facing organizations today, especially in these days of working from home, is the headache involved here is how do you support and secure all of these devices.

The scary thing is that most small businesses don’t even try! The CDW survey found that only 1 in 5 small businesses have deployed (or plan to deploy) any systems for managing and securing employees’ personal devices. (more…)

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Patches And Updates Protects Computer Systems

Image of Lady Technician pointing at update progress bar on computer screen.

System patching is critical to the security of the software and hardware that make up computer systems. When vendors become aware of vulnerabilities in their products, like the recent discovery of multiple flaws in Apache’s Log4j logging library, they often issue patches to fix those vulnerabilities. Making sure that relevant patches are applied to the computer systems that are critical to your organization as soon as possible can keep your systems protected.

What are patches?

Patches are software and operating system (OS) updates that address security vulnerabilities within a program or product. Software vendors may choose to release updates to fix performance bugs, as well as to provide enhanced security features.

How do you find out what software updates you need to install?

When software updates become available, vendors usually put them on their websites for users to download. Some vendors like Microsoft, Apple, Google and Adobe, provide these updates or patches through an automated system. Install updates as soon as possible to protect your computer, phone, or other digital device against attackers who would take advantage of system vulnerabilities. Attackers may target vulnerabilities for months or even years after updates are available.

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Spam: Strategies For Reducing Unsolicited Emails

Mail box with no spam sign

Spam is a common, and often frustrating, side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it.

What is spam?

Spam is the electronic version of “junk mail.” The term spam refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses so some valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.

How can you reduce the amount of spam?

  • Be careful about releasing your email address

    Think twice before you respond to any request for your email address, on the web, verbally, or on paper.
    Spammers can harvest any email address posted on a website or buy a list of victims from unscrupulous vendors who sell their mailing list.
    When you give your email address to a company, or a store, that information is often entered into a database so that customer information and preferences can be tracked. If these email databases are sold to or shared with other companies, you can receive email that you didn’t request.
    So the next time you make a purchase and they ask you whether you want an emailed or a printed receipt, choose “Print only”.

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Identity Theft: Preventing and Responding to Identity Fraud

Identity theft: a criminal running away with stolen personal information from a compromised tablet computer.

Following the recent public disclosure that hackers believed to be operating on behalf of a foreign government breached the networks of the U.S. government and multiple US companies, it is safe to assume that online frauds and scams like identity theft will follow.

Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a crime that can have substantial financial and emotional consequences. Take precautions with personal information. If you become a victim, act immediately to minimize the damage.

Is identity theft just a problem for people who submit information online?

You can be a victim of identity theft even if you never use a computer. Malicious people may be able to obtain personal information (such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, and addresses) by stealing your wallet, overhearing a phone conversation, rummaging through your trash (a practice known as dumpster diving), or picking up a receipt at a restaurant that has your account number on it.

If a thief has enough information, he or she may be able to impersonate you to purchase items, open new accounts, or apply for loans.

The internet has made it easier for thieves to obtain personal and financial data. Most companies and other institutions store information about their clients in databases; if a thief can access that database, he or she can obtain information about many people at once rather than focus on one person at a time.

The internet has also made it easier for thieves to sell or trade the information, making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and apprehend the criminals.

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Internet Safety for Children: Keeping Them Safe Online

Internet safety for kids using parental controls

Internet safety for children involves not only keeping them safe, but parents and guardians taking some simple steps to dramatically reduce online threats, especially those that prey on kids, protect the data on computer devices, and keep them safe online.

This is even more critical now as we are in the middle of a health pandemic and children are made to learn from home, and have limited physical interactions with their peers.

What unique Internet safety risks are associated with children?

In terms of Internet safety, when a child is using your computer, normal safeguards and security practices may not be sufficient. Children present additional challenges because of their natural characteristics: innocence, curiosity, desire for independence, and fear of punishment.

You need to consider these characteristics when determining how to protect your data and the child.

You may think that because the child is only playing a game, or researching a term paper, or typing a homework assignment, they can’t cause any harm. But what if, when saving their paper, the child deletes a necessary program file?

Or what if they are tricked by a malicious advertisement to unintentionally visit a web page with inapprorpiate content, or accidentally download a malware that infects the computer with a virus?

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