Picture this: you’re crunching numbers like a pro, sipping on your coffee, but suddenly receive a ‘ping’ that your favourite online shopping site now suggests work-related attire right after you’ve bought that “I’m on vacay” beach shirt. Then you wonder if you remembered to lock these personal accounts with passwords that aren’t “haibo80”, or, “myfirstpet123”? And what about that ‘phishy’ email you’ve just received from an alleged banking service?
If your financial prowess is as sharp as a spreadsheet formula, but your password is weaker than your first pet’s name, any hacker would have a field day…
This article was sparked by a recent insightful interview featuring Réno Pretorius, Managing Member of Entrutech. A current project of RAiN Chartered Accountants, CoolDesk, has prompted the exploration of the evolving relationship between personal and organizational security. This is where RAiN’s IT Audit and Entrutech meet. CoolDesk’s collaboration offers a secure, public space with reliable high-speed internet access for professionals, students, and those in need of an ideal workspace. With RAiN’s IT Audit expertise and Entrutech’s business-focused IT services, they’re taking proactive strides to raise awareness about cyber security risks.
Discover how staying informed and proactive can forge a safer digital realm for ourselves and our organisations.
Umbrella of vigilance
With CoolDesk, RAiN Chartered Accountants and Entrutech aim to implement the best possible security options for public environments. However, according to Pretorius, no matter how well your network is set up, if you don’t apply basic security hygiene to your devices, you’re still vulnerable to risks.
It’s a common misconception that relying on relatively secure internet networks absolves us of the need for caution. Yet, it’s the very idea of assuming we’re shielded that can expose us to risks we never saw coming. Increased awareness about IT Security isn’t about serving SPF in a storm…
It’s about revealing the umbrellas with holes in them.
Here’s the irony: despite so many warnings and information out there, so many people still get caught in the proverbial ‘rain’ of cyber-attacks.
Pretorius points out that given the fact that the digital world is more intricate than ever, literally changing by the minute, it’s harder to stay up to date with CIA – Confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Joshua Asa, Head of IT Audit at RAiN Chartered Accountants, also underscores the crucial link between safeguarding our personal digital space and the impact it has on the intricate fabric of business IT environments. The wall between these realms, once a solid divide, is now more like a permeable membrane, where the choices we make on our personal devices ripple through to our professional networks.
Staying dry in the digital downpour
If your personal accounts are exposed, it gives cyber criminals the opportunity to access your work accounts or information through what they call “social engineering.”
Imagine your personal accounts as secret passages to your business fortress. If cyber criminals break into an easy target, they’re only a step away from your kingdom’s treasure. It’s like giving away the map to your treasure chest – and modern pirates are smarter than ever. Their tools, refined by current trends of “Generative AI”, like Chat GPT, make hacking as easy as ordering UberEats.
Remember, the digital world isn’t just pixels and codes. It’s a realm where personal and business realms intertwine. So, before you connect to that Wi-Fi hotspot or click that link, think of it like entering a medieval castle. You might unknowingly expose your personal devices and data to potential threats. A dragon might be lurking, but with the right armour of vigilance (and a bit of digital savvy), you’ll slay the beasts and safeguard your kingdom.
IT Security starts with yourself.
If you have the basics in place and make it a habit, you make it harder for criminals. This way, you can reduce the chances of a cyber-attack where you could lose data or money.
In the long run, it is crucial to count the costs before they accumulate and guarding against the monetary implications associated with security breaches.
Essentially, poor personal security practices turn into potential company calamities.
And let’s be honest, who wants to be caught in the rain without an umbrella?
Plug the holes promptly
So, what can you do to ensure your digital umbrella is hole-free?
Pretorius encourages us to implement the following basic principles, which are still the most prevalent cause of most successful attacks, whether personal or in business:
In a world where personal and business realms converge under the cloud of technology, securing our digital defense is like carrying an umbrella in the rain. By understanding the dynamics between personal and organisational security, and staying vigilant against crafty cyber advances, we can ensure that the forecast remains clear of security threats. Just as the right umbrella keeps us dry, the right proactive and preventative measures shield us from the downpour of cyber risks.
Visit www.rain.org.za for more inspiring stories.