2020 will put an indelible mark in the lives of all people forever. It brought us considerable challenging scenarios to overcome and even though many things were lost, we are making good efforts to preserve what is truly ours. One thing, that arrived more than ever this year, was the total dependence on technology since the virus has made social distance a new reality keeping us locked and hyper-connected transforming the way we perceive the world.

As a conclusion for this year, it's natural, then, after mentioning the new way of living, that the last article should raise awareness on the myriad cyber-risks that we will face in this upcoming 2021, and give at least some quick-dirty tips for people at all levels “to stay safe”.

1. Educate yourself in cybersecurity

Educate yourself on IT security and best practices. This provides clear expectations for potential threats on your personal network. You the best network baseline you have. When you empower yourself, everything changes.

2. Test your weaknesses

Reviewing your network and physical security policies is a must in today’s world; as technology changes, so will your policies. Perform network vulnerability scans weekly, this provides you with a clear picture of your network's security posture. Installing network security monitoring software provides you with real-time network behavior, helping you identify threats on your network.

3. Upgrade software

Setting automatic updates is something that bothers everybody but is not all that bad and in fact, it is highly recommended. Keeping your software up to date lowers your risk against software vulnerabilities. The less vulnerabilities you have, the less exploits, viruses, and malware attacks can be performed on you.

4. Protect network devices against viruses, spyware, and malware code

Installing all network devices with antimalware/EDR is a must. This coupled with network monitoring software will ensure the protection is running, up to date, and not disabled.

5. Physically secure equipment

Ensure device hardware and data aren't compromised by protecting physical equipment. Review tamper stickers and secured access location often, to ensure no unauthorized access has occurred.

6. Encrypt network data

Data-at-rest encryption provides an extra layer of security. Automatically encrypting data saved on any storage medium makes it harder for criminals to use the stolen data.

7. Use strong authentication methods

Implement two-factor authentication features, like the ones coming into Facebook or Google, to approve access to your resources, like bank accounts. Using authentication tokens or mobile Apps coupled with passwords provides some of the strongest authentication methods available for you.

8. Secure external network access

Ensure your network has a secure VPN connection for traveling and working from home employees. This should be part of the new home-based office implementation and if sensitive data is not traveling via any kind of tunneling, you should make it happen. Mandating strong authentication, such as one-time password tokens or certificate-based smart cards will greatly increase the security of the approved connection to your network.

9. Define strong security policies for administrator accounts

Implementing strong authentication for admins accounts will ensure login credentials are not easily compromised. Review all admin accounts monthly to remove or disable unused accounts, this applies to user accounts as well.

10. Always seek the advice of an expert

If your company does not have a dedicated IT expert who can help boost security and maintain a vigilant stance against threats, now might be the time to bring one aboard completely.