Being a project manager isn’t for the faint of heart. The position comes with many responsibilities and requires you to wear many different hats. From selecting the right hires to make your team excel to keeping everyone on track and delivering an exceptional final product, project managers are juggling a lot.
Table of Contents
- Cybersecurity Dangers for Project Managers
- Cybersecurity Measures to Put in Place
- It’s Never Been More Important to Up Your Cybersecurity
New technologies can make project management a little easier. Productivity aids and software make it simpler to stay on top of your game. Communication has never been easier or faster, and that can translate to a more productive and successful team. Unfortunately, these technologies can come at a price — greater vulnerability to cybercrime.
Here are some top tips to protect you, your team, and your products when you’re working as a project manager.
It’s possible you may not even realize what kind of cybercrime risks are out there, or what they mean for project managers. Here are some of the most common cyber risks you need to worry about.
Malware is short for Malicious Software. It’s a general umbrella term that includes all kinds of nasty cyberattacks, including viruses, worms, and other “trojan horse” threats that can negatively impact your projects. While some malware is surprisingly simple, it’s undeniably effective. With sophisticated malware also floating around the internet, it’s entirely possible you could be a victim of a malware attack and not realize it’s happened until it’s much too late.
A data breach happens when important information is obtained without permission. There are different ways to achieve a data breach, and it can happen from within your own networks or even from other compromised platforms where your data is stored. Recent statistics show that a single data breach can cost a company $3.86 million. For those looking to make a quick buck, your company could be a prime target — no matter how little you think could be sourced from your accounts.
Phishing attacks are designed to obtain information that allows a perpetrator to access accounts — usually to commit theft. Successful phishing attacks often mimic a legitimate interaction and can look like an email, text message, or phone call, prompting you to enter crucial account information. Many phishing schemes present information that could be worrying; an unexpected charge or attempted account access, for example. In the latter case, the scammer may request that you enter information if you weren’t responsible for it.
These cybersecurity issues are a problem for everyone — companies and individuals alike — as technology plays a more prominent role in our everyday lives. More connections and more ways to share information allow for a greater number of weak spots.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your information, employees, and your company.
As cyberattacks have become more profitable and as people move the bulk of their business, personal interactions, and accounts online, cyber attacks have become increasingly efficient. It’s not unusual to find them one step ahead of security options, working with brand new technology to achieve their unsavory goals.
The more security measures you implement, the likelier it is that you can fight off these attacks and protect your information.
Start With Your Passwords
No doubt you’ve been using passwords for decades. As more and more accounts require them, and as technology has become more adept at figuring out your passwords, it’s become important to take a critical look at your password habits.
While it’s tempting to share passwords — especially when you’re working on a team — it’s best that you don’t. Always store your passwords in a place that’s not readily visible. While easy passwords that are quick to remember and type are convenient, they aren’t great for protecting your accounts. Opt for complex passwords that include upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Avoid personal names and dates and resist sharing your passwords across multiple platforms.
Don’t Rely on Passwords Alone
Cleaning up your password habits are a great place to start, but you can take your protection up a notch by using multi-factor identification. After all, even the very best passwords can be compromised by the very best hackers and hacking programs. Putting multi-factor verification in place can help protect you if that does happen.
While two-factor authentication can be as simple as a text message to your cell phone with a unique code to enter when completing your login process, you may also want to consider special multi-factor programs and apps for even more security.
Update that Software
Those updating prompts you to receive may come along at inconvenient times, but remember, those few minutes it takes to update your devices and their software can save you a lot of headaches.
You may think of software updates as new features you don’t need or won’t use. Software updates are really much more than this, though, and frequently feature safety patches, designed to repair and strengthen weak spots that have been discovered in the program.
Use Trusted Sources
One way you can reduce vulnerability to cyber attacks is by sticking to known and trusted sources. This means using only established payment platforms, websites, and interacting with reputable service and product providers. Remember that if something sounds too good, it probably is. The flip side of that is that if something doesn’t feel quite right, it probably isn’t.
Trusted sources are more than which websites you visit and what technology providers you subscribe to. How you use the internet is equally important. Work with trusted networks whenever possible. Your own network is always the best choice and it should be password protected to prevent others from easily gaining access to your network.
Pay Attention to the Fine Print
As a program manager, you and your team probably use a number of apps and online platforms on a daily basis. Make sure you know exactly what kind of permissions you agree to and what information you’re sharing. Wherever possible, make sure to limit permissions to best keep your information secure and protected. In some instances, you may find it’s necessary to choose paid-for technology instead of the available free services, but it will go a long way to reducing your risk.
Embrace Antivirus Technology
Antivirus protection can help your devices catch malware before they have a chance to do any damage. It’s a great way to reduce your vulnerability. Many antivirus programs now use a subscription service format and can be run on many different types of devices. Antivirus protection is especially important when your team is working from different locations and when you exchange a large amount of information or downloads through email or online platforms.
Working remotely is more common than it ever has been before. Remember to fully protect any team members or employees even when they’re off-site. A compromised network or device outside of your home base can easily infiltrate your own network and programs when it belongs to a trusted team member.
Backup Your Data
If you aren’t regularly backing up your hard work, it’s time to start. Should you find your networks or devices have been compromised there may not be a way to retrieve or repair lost information. Create a backup schedule and stick to it. Having it to fall back on in case of a cyberattack can save you plenty of time and prevent you from needing to start over from scratch.
Protect Yourself With a VPN
When it comes to protecting evices and networks, you won’t find a more comprehensive solution than a Virtual Private Network. What a VPN does is it creates a secure connection to the internet for your device. It can easily be installed on your home network and individual mobile devices to protect you when you’re on the go
When using a VPN, all the information passing into and out of your device is encrypted, making it that much harder for potential hackers to gather your confidential information. VPNs help keep your online activity private, mask your location and IP address, and can even allow you access to websites and platforms that might otherwise be restricted due to travel or network restrictions.
It’s no secret that cyberattacks have risen since the Covid-19 pandemic began. All over the world, more people are turning to online shopping and business, with more employees working from home networks and places outside of the office.
If you haven’t upped your cybersecurity to reflect the increased use of the internet for daily activities — and the increased interest in committing fraud through cyberattacks — you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to future potential cyberattacks.
Implementing the safety measures suggested here can help keep you and your team safe from would-be hackers, leaving you more time to invest in your projects — and fewer headaches on your way to achieving the successful outcomes you’ve worked towards.