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What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself and Your Business Against Cyber Threats

In a recent Families of Worth session, we discussed crucial steps to take in order to increase your cybersecurity.

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Whether we realize it or not, technology plays a huge role in all our lives—especially nowadays. While technology is often used to facilitate everything we do, it’s crucial we educate ourselves on the downsides, in this case how it can affect our privacy. Ronald S. Moultrie, CEO of Oceanus Security Strategies, Sharon Sager, CIMA, managing director, private wealth advisor, family office consultant and institutional consultant at UBS and Jody R. Westby, founder and CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC, discussed what you need to know to be protected against cyber threats.

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Moultrie believes the first step to protecting yourself, your loved ones and your company from a cyber attack is becoming aware that this is indeed a serious issue. “I think the most important thing to understand is that the cyber threat is real,” he said. “There really are nefarious actors that are there; they’re trying every day, every hour and every day. Right before this [discussion] started, we were discussing among the panelists an event that happened to one of us within the last 48 hours, and these things are happening all the time. Cyber actors are trying to get into our networks, they’re trying to get into our home email systems, they’re trying to get onto our phones, and that threat is real. So really having an awareness around this, I think is really important. And I would say that complacency is really ill advised. We have to understand that things are going on all the time, and that our highly connected lives, this internet of things, that allow us to connect mobile and remotely, especially during this time, make us even more vulnerable.”

In terms of taking action against cyber threats, one way is to consider simple but effective measures. “Don’t share your device, even among your family, keep your device for your own use, and have multi-factor authentication,” Westby said. “Use your biometrics or use whatever is offered as a means with, especially banking accounts, that kind of thing. Also, make sure you have antivirus software that’s up-to-date, and that your system has the most current patches on it. That’s an ongoing thing. And I know it’s a little bit of a hassle, but it’s important to do it.”

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Westby also offered some insight on how to keep your family business’ information the most secure possible. “Often family members will all want to access the family business data,” Westby added. “But they are family members, they aren’t employees. And so it can be important in families to have a pact about how you’re going to use technology, so that they have kind of a family policy, and everyone agrees how you’re going to use. Although we like to think everyone gets along well, in some families, they don’t get along well, they spy on each other. And so it’s important to take measures to protect your data, your network and your systems and not leave yourself open to any vulnerabilities. And doing some of those very basic steps are the most important. If you have a business, get a risk assessment. I promise you, you will spend more on an incident than you will ever spend on doing 10 years of risk assessments. And that’ll help you figure out what needs to be remediated and in what priority and it’ll help you have a plan and all of that pays off.”

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