Moving into 2021, you can’t be too careful with cybersecurity. In fact, cyber threats have reached an all-time high and nobody is immune. Each time you or an employee download an app, sign up for an account, or use public Wi-Fi, you’re at risk.
Don’t want to deal with cybercriminals? Nobody does. The good news is that you can protect yourself. Use the following services to strengthen your security posture in 2021 and beyond.
1. Use ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN is the most secure VPN service around. The main reason ProtonVPN outdoes other services is because of their server location. With servers located in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden, you’re protected by some of the best privacy laws in the world.
These three countries have some of the world’s strictest privacy laws that forbid companies from collecting and using a person’s data without explicit permission. ProtonVPN doesn’t keep data logs and therefore can’t reveal your identity or location even under court order. There’s simply no data to hand over.
Another plus ProtonVPN has is underground servers that aren’t easy to access. The company performs regular audits to make sure services remain secure, and all sessions generate a brand new AES-256 encryption key. Other benefits include:
Encrypted DNS requests.
The VPN service automatically activates so you don’t need to remember to turn it on.
Traffic can be routed through the Tor network for an added layer of security. The Tor network, short for “The Onion Router” network, offers layered security like an onion. Using the Tor network anonymizes your internet traffic through 3+ nodes. None of these nodes know your actual IP address, which makes tracking your location nearly impossible.
While other VPNs can provide a basic level of security, ProtonVPN provides a double whammy as a VPN that provides the option for utilizing the Tor network.
2. Encrypt all internal email communications
Encrypted email is critical now and will remain non-negotiable in the future. Email is fairly easy to intercept. When unprotected emails are intercepted, the contents of those emails can be used for nefarious purposes—even when they don’t contain financial data.
If you think you only need to encrypt emails with credit card and bank information, think again. Cybercriminals are always looking for tiny pieces of information to piece together a full profile they can use for identity theft. They’re always looking for names, email addresses, college records, and any information they can use to gain access to accounts that might provide even more information.
The best way to encrypt your email is through a provider that encrypts email by default (like ProtonMail), or by using a third-party add-on. Before sending sensitive information through email, make sure you understand encryption limitations. All data can be encrypted at rest and in transit, however, that’s not generally the default setting for encryption services. For example, emails sent between users on the Proton Mail network will be automatically encrypted end-to-end. However, that’s not the case when sending mail to a Gmail user.
Sending email to a user outside the encrypted ProtonMail network will be encrypted in transit, but won’t be encrypted once it reaches its destination on a Gmail server. The only way to ensure cross-provider emails remain encrypted at all times is to require recipients to install encryption software on their end. If that’s not possible, send password-protected PDF files and share the password over the phone.
Using a strong firewall should be standard practice. If you’re not using a firewall, your network is extremely vulnerable.
According to data breach statistics published by upguard.com, extensive use of encryption software security integrations, and data loss prevention tactics are associated with lower-than-average fines for a data breach. This means security measures, like firewalls, work to a large degree.
4. Use automatic network threat detection
You can’t detect and manage threats manually to any useful degree. You need automated threat detection for your network. Whether it’s built into your firewall or installed as an add-on, automated threat detection will catch a shocking number of threats as they come in. Based on rules you define, you can isolate threats for analysis to determine the source.
You can’t outrun cybercriminals, but you can keep them at bay
Cybercriminals get smarter every year. However, they rely mostly on user error to gain unauthorized access to data. That means it’s not hard to prevent attacks when you implement the correct security measures.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. A graduate of Iowa State University, I’m now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant.