This is a guest post by Cassie Phillips. Cassie is a writer and cybersecurity professional who is interested in new technologies that make life more efficient. She hopes that her information gives people more time for the things in life that truly matter.
Cybersecurity is a topic you likely don’t think about until something goes wrong. How much of your work exists only online? What happens if your valuable work is suddenly gone? Stolen or lost data can set a project back months or even destroy your reputation. Think about news reports regarding Sony or the Office of Personnel Management. Even on a personal level, a cyber attack can be devastating to your goals and productivity plans, so don’t let it happen to you.
This means that you need to create a plan to protect yourself. While this will take some initial effort on your part, this will also help you be more productive. Even things that don’t seem efficient at first, such as forming security procedures and establishing a security schedule, can be made efficient with the right tweaking. Here are some of the important ways a cybersecurity plan can keep you focused and productive:
Less Stress = More Productivity.
Stress contributes negatively to productivity. If people know what to do if there is a data loss situation, they aren’t as likely to experience anxiety about it. A defined plan also allows for a faster response, which helps minimize damage.
There are some fantastic apps available such as YNAB (You Need a Budget) to keep track of finances. This is helpful to help you see if you anything out of place financially. If something looks odd, it will be more immediately noticeable. But keep in mind that you should only use apps that you actually need or you’ll end up wasting your time.
In some cases, you only have to take action once. You can never go wrong with turning on the firewall for your computer, whether it is a Windows-based PC or Mac. Just set it and forget it (at least with that simple step.)
Keep It Simple With Automation
Let’s be honest: the reason you don’t keep up with your security plan is because your plan requires a lot of steps or you never fully developed a plan. This is where automation comes in. It may take a little time to set up, but an automated system will save you time and mental energy in the long run. If you have to manually check for security and OS updates for your computer, you update your computer less. When you turn on the auto update feature, your computer is up to date and you don’t even have to think about it, right?
Consider some of the following tips and examples:
- If you are using a WordPress site, you may want to consider a plugin or app that will back it up such as BackUpWordPress. Backing up and restoring whole pages can be a consuming task, so most people will neglect it unless it is done for them.
- Consider an app such as Remember The Milk or Todoist to create a checklist for yourself in terms of security. Set it as a recurring task or repeating item. Set a weekly reminder to clear old data and scan your devices for malware and other problems. A good security plan takes important procedures and turns them into routines, and those apps will do just that with the right input. Similarly, if you are a person that uses a calendar to manage your time, make sure to make your security tasks regular calendar items.
- A service such as Carbonite is very helpful for both safely storing and managing files. If you have a Mac from 2007 or newer, Time Machine is another good option that comes by default with your computer.
Work Better With Your Team
If you work in an office, talk to your manager so that a general security policy can be instated (if it isn’t already). For example, password-protecting certain files and documents can make all the difference.
You should know what can be shared in email or discussed over the phone. This will also help you know something is out of place or if there is an invalid request. You should know what person to go to for any instances where an outside party is asking for sensitive information.
Try to remember that there is more to productivity than meeting goals as effectively and quickly as possible. It is important to protect your work as well. An extra hour spent on security is nothing compared to the weeks needed to recover from a major data breach. Once you get used to any tools and habits you use, you won’t ever want to go back from the peace of mind you get.
To help you form a security plan, here are some steps you can take to move forward:
- Perform a general security review of all of your devices. Take notes as to any obvious vulnerabilities. Write down and visualize what you would need to do to solve the problem.
- Secure all of your online accounts, especially your email and other gateway accounts. Strong passwords are absolutely essential and be sure that you change your passwords on recurring basis. Think closely about who else might have current access to your accounts. Limit or block access levels for users as needed. Use a VPN to provide another level of security for your data.
- Get the tools you need. Some tools are necessary for a good cybersecurity plan such as a security suite, security plugin, or VPN.
- Create a security schedule. Regularly maintain your security plan and have a time where you can focus strictly on cybersecurity. This is actually really easy to do, just have recurring event on your calendar.
Do you have any tips or tools you use to improve your security and boost your productivity? Please leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.