Looking at your design transform from an idea on a piece of paper to a building is the dream of every architect. You work on a project for months, sometimes even years, to see it come to life. In the meantime, you create and scrap variations, collaborate with other teams, and get your hands on a pile of client data.

All the collaboration platforms, digital tools, and cloud storage sites make you vulnerable to cyberattacks. Whether it’s ransomware, a data breach, or plain hacking, cybercriminals are trying to steal your intellectual property.

Here are six tips for architects on how to build robust cybersecurity skills:

Know the Risks

Cybercriminals will use the first opportunity they get to harm you. They will look for a vulnerability and abuse it. The easiest target is a printer. As silly as it sounds, hackers can use it as a stepping stone to take over your domain, breach data, or install ransomware. Now that you know about it, you can consider what to do to mitigate the risk. Keep in mind that it’s not just the printer.

You need to assess everything and see whether you’ve got the tools to combat cybercriminals. It can be anything from software to employee training or support. Working with risk assessment professionals is a great way to find out where to start.

Check Your Connections

Printers and laptops are first in the line of many errors most architects make when it comes to cybersecurity. Instead of prioritizing security, people prioritize speed when it comes to setting up remote connections. But what about a combination of both?

A VPN for Windows is a tool that encrypts your connection and masks your IP address. It’s a must for keeping prying eyes and cybercriminals at bay, especially if employees use their personal computers. Make sure to install a VPN on your router so the entire office is protected.

Avoid Over-Relying on Your IT Team

Cybersecurity culture stems from individual practices. You shouldn’t count on your IT team to put out the fires if you’re leaving a trail of sparks whenever you use the internet. Phishing attacks are common, and they’re getting more convincing every day. Here are a few best practices to ensure you’re doing everything correctly:

  • Don’t click on links in emails
  • Use a VPN on every device
  • Make sure you have 12+ character passwords
  • Use 2FA
  • Use an antivirus
  • Backup your data
  • Avoid useless downloads
  • Restrict access to data

Train for Habits

It’s much easier to create a new habit from scratch compared to eliminating an old one. The biggest weaknesses in every cybersecurity system are human errors and bad habits. Downloading unsecured email attachments, clicking malicious links, delaying updates, syncing data, and ignoring alerts are some of the few.

Many companies make the mistake of reading through boring PowerPoint presentations to strengthen their cybersecurity culture. But when was the last time you remembered and used something from a slideshow?

The thing that motivates change is an example, story, event, or mistake. The best way to replace old habits is by simulated attacks. Run a fake phishing test and see how many people fall for it. Then, show what could have happened with a real example and make sure everyone understands the severity of the problem.

When people know that such a mistake can have negative effects on their personal and professional lives, they are more open to change. Defensive culture will strengthen, and you can test it with another simulated attack a few weeks later.

You could also train your employees through different cyber security online courses.

Create a Smartphone Policy

Mobile phones are easy to forget when creating a cybersecurity policy. Like it or not, smartphones are a necessity in the workplace. People use them professionally and personally. But do you have the right policy for them?

Hackers love using smartphones as the entry point of a major system. Once they get to one phone, they can easily get to all the others. And then it’s just a matter of time before your entire workplace is subject to a ransomware attack. When creating a cybersecurity policy, make sure you agree on how phones should be configured.

Make Sure Your Backup Works

When was the last time you used your backup? Unless you’ve been hacked, the answer is probably never. Most backups aren’t properly configured. In the case of remote teams, it’s even worse.

You need to stay on top of company files and decide whether they’ll be stored locally or on third-party cloud servers. See if there is a data footprint that can lead a cybercriminal to where you’re keeping all the files. Ensure the backup works before you need to use it. In the case of a breach, this simple check will be a lifesaver.

A Few Final Words

These six tips are a great stepping stone to start building cybersecurity skills. It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelance architect or a part of a large company. Hackers will do their best to harm you. Cybercriminals are using time and money to be better at their game. We suggest you use the same to be more protected.

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