Today (February 7th 2012) is Safer Internet Day and this year it’s focused on Connecting generations and educating each other, with the slogan: "Discover the digital world together... safely!"
The Internet has been a playground for discovery across generations, from those in primary school to the retired who are interested in expanding their social interactions online. However, it is not only the adventurous that are explorers: criminals are exploiting every opportunity the Internet provides – and there are a lot. Across the globe, people from all walks of life are not keeping their personal information as safe as they should be, a majority of them are completely unaware they are doing so. With access to sensitive business and personal data, the Internet is a playground for criminals.
The questions we need to ask and find appropriate solutions to are: how can we, as individuals, protect our sensitive data? How can we ensure that organisations keep our information safe? And, as a business how can your protect your IPR – your crown jewels – from being extricated from the internet – an unclassified, un-policed, open network that we are all beholden to in some form or another.
To be proactive about information management is similar to safeguarding your house. You would never leave the house without shutting and locking your doors – some of us even set alarms and have lights on timers to ensure it looks as though someone is at home. Our online “home” should be equally as secure. With the ability to set secure passwords on all of your online accounts, whether it be emails, banking or social networking, it is difficult to understand why some of us do not take this seriously.
As a business are you sure all the windows are shut? Are you assured that information isn’t flowing out of them? What are your policies and procedures for information management? Do your employees know what they can and can’t share, who they should talk to if an incident occurs and who within your organisation is responsible for cyber security. More importantly, are your senior executives taking their laptops, un-coded, abroad or are they using their new iPad for business purposes? The answers to these questions should be the basis of your new cyber security strategy.
We may be living and working in the digital world where we are often reliant upon technology to function, but we must remember that it is the human application of technology that allows businesses to deliver but also that can ultimately bring down the share price, brand reputation, and bottom line of an organisation. Protecting your information should be a business priority: up-skill your staff, assure your customers that information is safe and be sure that this is the case.
As an Internet user, you should manage your cyber security to meet your personal and business need, not those of criminals.
By Sophie Bialaszewski, Templar Executives