Association Cybersecurity: No More Easy Targets
Whether you're going to spend the weekend on the sofa binge-watching Mr. Robot, or you turned on the news to hear about the latest global hacking scandal, or you simply logged in this morning to find out it was time to (again!) change your password, cybersecurity is embedded into our daily activities.
We're inundated with the threat of a security breach, almost to the point where it doesn't seem real. After all, we might say, how likely is it that someone is out to get me? Am I really a target?
The quick answer is: yes. If you checked your email, or used your smart phone to turn your lights on at home, or bought a holiday gift online, or have a password to access anything at all, you and your data are at risk.
The sad truth is, 75% of all websites have at least one security vulnerability. And while not all of these are critical, you certainly don't want to fall into the percentage of those that are. The good news is that there are steps you can do today to keep you, your association, and your data secure.
The precautions that you take to keep yourself safe in the actual world apply virtually as well. Paying attention to what's around you, who you interact with, and where you visit can make a large difference when it comes to cybersecurity.
Start with reading your security policy. Chances are your association has one, but most haven't read it (or even know it exists). You can't follow guidelines that will keep you safe if you don't know what they are.
Hackers are looking for the weakest path to get in, and that can come from someone clicking a link in an unknown email, connecting to an insecure public network, or locking his computer with a default password. This behavior often is a result of a false sense of security. Be aware that, while most hackers aren't trying to target someone personally, they are looking for any easy access they can get.
Make Your Passwords Complex
We all know that "1234," "0000," and "password" are weak, but providing a strong password goes well beyond avoiding these obvious choices. There are a host of password techniques that provide a range of strength against an attack. Start identifying the weak passwords you may have and work to replace these as soon as possible.
Change the Behavior of Those Around You
Hopefully you don't know your coworkers' passwords (and if you do, that's a big red flag), but you can assume that they are like most and need some training on security policies as well.
Following security protocols might be seen as a nuisance, but it might also be the only thing standing in between your data and eager hackers. Your staff needs to take association cybersecurity extremely seriously, as a data breach can affect revenue, member trust, partner relationships, and staff retention.
Make a group effort of identifying your security team members, updating your passwords, and securing your mobile devices. By keeping security top of mind, you'll have peace of mind when you hear about the inevitable next attack.
Want more details on association cybersecurity, password complexity, and how to stay safe and secure? Watch cyberexpert Joshua Hiller's webinar recording.
About Jennifer Barrell
As the Director of Content, Branding & Buzz at Aptify, Jen oversees the strategy and execution of brand management and content production across the organization’s global offices. She thrives on bringing compelling content and useful information to associations to help them grow and engage their membership. She's also an avid fan of mid-century modern design and all things science fiction.