What is being ‘Cyber Ready’? Well, it is not just a bit of software and a few boxes – if only it were that easy!Yes, investing in the right hardware and software solutions such as a firewall and email protection is the right thing to do – and a multi-layered approach to cyber security is going to be the most effective, however, the key to being genuinely cyber ready is a state of mind.

It is rather sad that you now need to be suspicious of anything that is now outside the norm. Getting an email from a complete stranger asking you to click a link, for sure, should ring alarm bells. Getting an email from someone you know with a link that refers to something that you haven’t discussed should also raise questions in your mind.

Likewise, any email from an organisation that you currently deal with, particularly financial institutions, that are asking you to ‘Log in and check your account’ or ‘See your recent transactions’ should make you pause and take a different action.

In the case of the latter I never click on any link within an email – I’ll open up a new browser session and use my own navigation to go to the bank’s website. That way I know that it is the genuine one rather than a fake. I can then check the veracity of the email content.

For the former, where someone has sent me an email with a link in that I wasn’t expecting, I pick up the telephone and speak to the person concerned. There are two benefits to taking this approach;

  • Firstly, I am being ‘Cyber Ready’ at a personal level and
  • If it is a fake email, I’m also warning the alleged sender that their systems may be compromised.

The secondary benefit is that even if everything is OK, I get to talk to my customers, suppliers and other contacts – which in this day and age of reliance on email and electronic communications is a nice return to direct personal interaction.