Cyber Security 101

Lesson 2

Securing your network and data with tools and actions

Welcome to Lesson 2 in cyber security

In Lesson 1 you learnt the basics of cyber security and the four major areas it encompasses. In this lesson you’ll learn how to implement the security measures we mentioned by using tools and taking proactive steps.

Information (data) security

In addition to the simple things you can do yourself to help keep your data safe – such as using strong passwords, using secured websites, and being scrupulous about the links you click on in emails you receive – you should also backup your data. 

Affordable bandwidth and secure cloud backup solutions means that there’s no need to backup to hard-drives and keep them offsite. Backup software is easy to install and enables you to easily and reliably restore your data if it gets lost or stolen, or anything else happens to it. Backup needs to be scheduled so that it’s regular and reliable, and this can most easily be carried out by a cloud backup provider. This is called backup as a service, and it automates the whole process. Once you’ve selected the vital data to be backed up every day, and scheduled a time, the software carries out the job and you don’t have to think about. 

Application security

If you have a small network of computers, and you set your preferences to automatically update your operating system and your browser as soon as a new version is available, you can probably get away with doing it yourself. But if several computers make up your network, it can be more effort than necessary to ensure they’re all updated – software as a service can do it for you. 

With a patch management services, set-up alerts tell you when updates are available and sometimes even install them for you. This is in addition to the proactive security measures that a security service will provide by continuously scanning for threats.

Network security

There are several things you can do to protect your network, such as implementing a cyber security solution and properly configuring a firewall.   

Installing a cloud hosted and managed cyber security solution is straightforward enough once you’ve decided which solution to choose. In the past, antivirus was the only form of security being used, but these days it’s not enough on its own. 

Some operating systems have a firewall built in but it may just need to be configured and enabled. A firewall blocks communications to and from sources you don’t know or trust so it’s incredibly useful, especially when using high-speed Internet connectivity. 

A virtual private network (VPN) is an encrypted Internet connection via a VPN provider. It allows you to communicate over a public, unsecured or unencrypted network privately without exposing and user details – that’s what makes it safer. A caveat here – if you’re using a “free” VPN solution you should be aware that there’s actually no such thing as “free”! Many free solutions are designed to expose your details to be exploited either to earn revenue by selling your details to advertisers, or worse, to breach your systems. 

By implementing these security measures you’ll go a long way towards securing your network.

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In Lesson 3 we’ll look at how to detect weaknesses in your network. 

Note: This content is general advice and should not be construed as paid-for cyber security advice and instruction.

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