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How to defend your company’s data against bad actors

While the internet age has made it easy to scale a business globally, the openness it has promoted has also allowed new threats to emerge.

In recent years, hackers backed by organized crime syndicates or overseas governments have stolen data from governmental bodies and private corporations alike, awaking them to the importance of internet security.

However, before you blindly install a firewall on your networks or enact measures like people centric security, you’ll want to understand the problem you are facing.

In the paragraphs below, we’ll walk you through the process you should adopt when you set out to protect your company’s data from bad actors.

Identify data you need to protect

It is easy to be overwhelmed with the task you are facing, but if you start by highlighting the data sets that desperately need protection from online criminals, it will be easier to proceed.

Protecting customer data, which includes credit cards, bank account info, and addresses/e-mails/phone numbers, should be an ‘A’ priority.

Trade secrets, prototypes, and internal financial information should also be afforded the best possible protection from threats.

Finally, anything pertaining to your employees should be also be well-guarded, as having an entire staff’s checking account numbers exposed to a cash-hungry Ukrainian cybergang is not the best way to inspire long-term loyalty to your company.

Set up defenses and train staff on how to use them

Once you have identified the information you want to protect, you’ll then want to set up systems that will guard it from even the most seasoned online intruder.

Ensure that every page on your site has the HTTPS protocol in place, and that all information forms transmit their payload in an encrypted format.

Require that your employees set strong passwords (more than 8-12 characters, with a mix of lower and upper case characters, numbers, and symbols), and that they are changed on a regular basis.

Back up information weekly, if not daily. In the event of a ransomware attack, you’ll be glad you did.

Train your staff how to recognize phishing e-mails – when in doubt, have them forward the message to IT.

The call could be coming from inside the house

It’s easy to picture your biggest threat being some Ukrainian hacker snacking on Cheetos in Kiev, but often, the perpetrator of data leaks are internal employees and contractors.

60% of the time there is a breach, it is the people you have trusted to keep your company’s trade secrets under wraps who ends up betraying your trust.

Knowing this, it is insufficient to set up an external firewall and DDoS protection and call it a day. You also need to have a system which tracks the behavior of employees and contractors as they navigate through your company’s intranet.

When a people centric security system detects anomalous behavior, it alerts your IT staff that something nefarious is up, allowing them to take appropriate measures against those flagged for engaging in ‘suspicious’ actions.

There may be many false alarms, but a people centric security system will pay for itself once it catches its first disgruntled employee trying to leak customer e-mail lists to a contact on the dark web.

 

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5 ways to protect your children while you’re away

As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about your children’s safety. That feeling is amplified when you’re away on business or working. It’s never easy leaving a child unsupervised. In fact, depending on their age it could also be illegal to leave them alone or unattended.

However, if your kids are old enough to spend a few hours alone at home but young enough to be at some risk, you need to take certain precautions before you leave them. Here are five ways you can protect your kids while you’re away:

  1. Install surveillance

Surveillance cameras could be your best bet to monitor the house and make sure your children are safe. Try to get an integrated system that hooks up to the internet and lets you livestream video while you’re away. Also, inform your alarm company about the hours you’ll be away so that they can be more alert. Leave signs and posters around the house to advertise your security. This is probably the best way to deter burglars and keep your kids safe.

  1. Create an illusion

Another great way to keep your kids safe is to create the illusion that you’re at home. Leave some of the lights on and keep a pile of unopened mail out the front door. You can even invest in timers that schedule turning lamps on and off. Attackers won’t target a house if they think the whole family is at home.

  1. Keep It Off Social Media

A surefire way to put your kids at risk is to broadcast your location on social media. If you’re travelling or working, keep it off social media so that no one knows your kids are unattended. Nearly eight out of ten burglars use social media to figure out your location before planning an attack.

  1. Trust a friend

If you’ve got a friend who lives close by, get them to check on your kids regularly. You can even ask a neighbour to drop in from time to time. Perhaps the best way to keep your kids safe is to hire a professional babysitter while you’re away.

  1. Train Your Kids

Teach your kids all the basics of being safe while you’re not around. Speak to them openly about the risks and make sure they know the dangers of talking to strangers or leaving the house without permission. Give them a spare pair of keys if you think they can handle it. Get them to check on the electricals and gas stoves. Make sure they have all the emergency contact numbers they might need.

It’s never easy leaving your kids unattended. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions if you have to step out for a few hours or more.

How to Pick the Right Boarding School

Having a great education sets the foundation for success. Statistics show that those who receive a great education, on average do much better in just about all measures of life.

There are many approaches parents take to ensure their children receive a great education. Some choose home schooling which allows them to control every aspect of their child’s education from curriculum to the amount of hours spent every day on school work. Some parents choose to put their kids in a formalized learning environment controlled by educators who have a track record for getting great results.

Both of these approaches can work well depending upon the child. But what is certain, is that children do better academically when they have few distractions and are literally living in an environment built to support learning.

This is perhaps why boarding schools consistently graduate the world’s top students. They offer a completely planned out education strategy and a setting that is proven to create high performing students.

But like everything in life, not all boarding schools are created equal and parents interested in sending a child to a boarding school needs to study their options and have a checklist for deciding on the right school. Here are some of the items to include on your checklist:

Educational Credentials

At the heart of any great school is its academic track record, so you will want to examine the education credentials of each boarding school you are considering. It should reveal a school that has top tier teaching curriculum, highly credentialed teachers and a large percentage of the student body that is excelling in classes.

For those who are not excelling in their classes, there should a support system in place that gets to the bottom of why and corrects these deficiencies in a very systematic and deliberate manner.

Further you should find that students are being accepted in high numbers at the top universities and there should be a number of alumni that have gone on to have standout careers in their chosen fields. All of this information should be made available by the school either as an introduction to their approach and accomplishments in this area or upon your request.

Recognized Leaders in Their Specialty Areas

Many boarding schools specialize in a particular subject or subjects. There are schools that are renowned for graduating future politicians and others that excel at creating future business leaders. There are boarding schools with performing arts programs that are the industry standard, and others who graduate top scientists. Make sure if you are interviewing a school that has a particular specialty area, that they have a great reputation for graduating successful professionals in that industry.

A Large Number of Students are Boarders

Practically every boarding school also has students that are day students, meaning those that go home in the afternoons and are not on the school campus during the weekends. So you want to make sure that there is a large enough amount of students that actually stay at the school to ensure that your child will have company during the evenings and weekends. Being far away from home with no one around can be extremely taxing and disorienting on young people. Without lots of other kids boarding, there will be fewer activities available for them to partake in, and fewer friends for them to make. So ask the school about the number of students who are boarders.

Appropriate Values and Traditions

Many boarding schools have been around for decades and some for hundreds of years. During their time in existence they develop an ethos or set of characteristics that come to define the school. Some schools are regarded as very tough and stringent regarding academics, others have a strong record of compassion, while others have a reputation for developing creative skills in students. You should understand this ethos and decide if it fits with what you want for your child.

Focus on Extra-curricular Activities

When your child is not in class or studying there will be considerable free time. Boarding schools try and fill this time with productive activities. You need to be sure that there are enough of the type of activities that will appeal to your child, going on all year long at the school.

Most boarding schools have excellent facilities for music, sports and other types of activities on campus. The school should offer all sorts of group activities built around these facilities. This means singing and music groups, sports teams, drama productions, debate groups, and others, and students should be strongly encouraged to join.

There is also an opportunity to work within the community around the school as a volunteer. These types of activities give students the chance to meet new people and make new friends and develop character. They also build student’s character and school record, which will be looked on positively by universities.

Deciding where to send your child to school is a big challenge. When you add the need to ensure they are also cared for well while they learn, it complicates things even more. Do your homework and you will learn information that will help you make a good choice.