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5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Data and Devices

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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Cybercrime has been an unfortunate trend in 2023, affecting organizations, individuals, and society at large.

As an article by ISACA explained, “The state of cybersecurity in 2023 is marked by a dynamic and evolving threat landscape, regulatory compliance and privacy concerns, and the increasing use of [artificial intelligence] and [machine learning].”

A data breach, one of the most common forms of cybercrime, can mean the death of a business or organization. For individuals, it can result in loss of finances, emotional stress, and a damaged credit score, among other things.

For these reasons, everyone—not just cybersecurity professionals and organizational leaders—should adopt cybersecurity practices that prevent cybercrime before it starts. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting sensitive data, such as financial and identity-related information.

With that in mind, here are five ways anyone can (and should) keep data safe in their home or office when using a device.

1. Use a Virtual Private Network

A VPN, or virtual private network, is essentially a private tunnel through the web. A VPN service ensures a secure internet connection by hiding your physical location and IP address, keeping your information private.

With a VPN service, you can also bypass content blocks and censorship. Using a VPN service is a great way to conceal your data and prevent data loss.

2. Use a Password Manager

One of the best cybersecurity-promoting practices is regularly changing every internet password you have (and they should all be different).

As Josh Koebert recently explained, the average person has 12 unique passwords for online accounts. Almost 13% have at least 25, while only 5% have at least 50.

Using a password manager, a software application that stores and manages online passwords, is a quick and easy solution.  

3. Install Antivirus Software 

Did you know that 560,000 new pieces of malware (malicious software) are detected daily? Malware enables hackers to damage your devices with viruses and steal data.

Installing antivirus software is a very effective way to protect your network and computer system/device from malware of all types. This makes you far less vulnerable to cyberattacks.

4. Beware of Phishing Scams

Today, phishing emails, social media direct messages, and text messages are abundant. Those who are savvy about phishing scams know to avoid clicking on any links that look suspicious. But not all the signs are obvious.

Usually, phishing attacks come from infrequent or first-time senders. But they can also come from senders who appear to be legitimate. In either case, content that is poorly spelled or devoid of proper grammar is usually a giveaway.

An urgent call to click a link, links that look suspicious, and mismatched email domains are other signs of phishing scams.

5. Enable Two- or Multi-Way Authentication

It can be all too easy for unauthorized users to gain access to your important data. An easy way to prevent this is by enabling authentication.

Authentication ensures that only fully authorized users can access your devices or accounts. Take advantage of the benefits of authentication by enabling two-way or multi-factor authentication on your online accounts and devices.   

Another way to protect sensitive data is to simply lock your devices when you’re away from your desk. Not everyone is trustworthy, so conceal your information by making device-locking a habit.

The Bottom Line

Taking steps toward effective cybersecurity requires some time and effort. But it’s worth it to avoid suffering the consequences of a data breach and loss of your vital personal information.

Be proactive about keeping your data secure and refuse to be a victim of cybercrime, every time.

In celebration of IIBA’s 20th anniversary and Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we're offering IIBA members a 20% discount on the Cybersecurity Analysis Program until October 31.

You don’t need any special codes or rebates, but you must be an IIBA member. Members can purchase the Cybersecurity Analysis Bundle, Cybersecurity Analysis Exam, or Cybersecurity Analysis Online Resources during the promotional window and pay the discounted price.

Not an IIBA member? Purchase your membership first to take advantage of this offer. 
Don't miss your chance to supercharge your cybersecurity expertise and save big!

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About the Author
Tiffani Iacolino.png

Tiffani Iacolino is a Senior Manager, Product Marketing at IIBA® and has 15+ years of marketing experience across the legal, technology, telecommunications, publishing, media, and professional services industries. She’s passionate about delivering meaningful products and solutions to the business analysis community. Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area, she enjoys an amazing cup of coffee, running, and yoga—between chasing her two adorable children!