We escaped Friday the 13th! Did you?

Did you and your business make it through last week’s Friday the 13th? Did you manage to successfully escape any security calamities? The coffee pot didn’t break down? Your network ran smoothly? No gremlins attacked your database?

Thank goodness! While Friday the 13th is steeped in cultural superstition, and most of us escape unscathed, it does serve as a reminder of what can happen when we let our guard down.

Friday the 13th offers more than superstition and a strong urge to avoid walking under ladders. It has long been a date of note for hackers and malware. In the earlier days of the personal computer, it was not unusual to get warnings from computer professionals and the media to be vigilant on the days leading up to Friday the 13th. The then notorious and prevalent Jerusalem virus, also known as the Friday the 13th virus, was known for unleashing all kinds of damage when the clock ticked over at midnight.

Some experts suggested a way to work around the virus was to set PC clocks a day ahead to bypass the 13th entirely. This wasn’t always effective, particularly as another virus was waiting around the virtual corner to kick off on the 14th.

While this virus and the variants it inspired are now obsolete, there are more sophisticated hacks and virus concerns to deal with today. If the Friday the 13th virus should have taught us anything it’s that prevention truly is key when it comes to security.

What can you do?

There are several cybersecurity steps that your business can take, to protect yourselves.

  • Establish solid security policies and practices for every member of your team. Train your employees to understand the importance of strong passwords and the risks that can come from inappropriate internet use.
  • Establish business rules that detail how to handle and protect customer data.
  • Encourage your team to protect their work laptops, to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive system.
  • Ensure that every machine capable of accessing your network is clean. All devices should have the latest updates from your chosen security software. An antivirus scan should be run routinely to detect viruses, malware, and any other online threat.
  • Whether your team is in office or is remote, a firewall can offer the protection your business needs.
  • Ensure you have an action plan for mobile devices. Mobile devices can prove to be a significant security challenge for your organization, particularly if they contain sensitive or private data, or can access an otherwise secured corporate network. Security apps should be installed, and devices should be password protected at the very least.
  • Consider multi-factor authentication for accessing your systems. Find out whether your vendors and financial institutions use multi-factor authentication to offer additional protection.

Friday the 13th may not be rolling around again until May 2022 but there’s no time like the present to check on just how prepared your business cybersecurity systems are.