That’s a pretty broad statement. How has it changed? In this instance, the change has to do with technology and the way we use it. Cyber security is huge now. Everybody wants to be safe. Who can blame them? Read any popular news site and you will see many articles about hacked accounts, leaked data, etc. It’s arguably one of the biggest news topics of 2016. Organizations are embracing security in a way that they haven’t in the past. Businesses have taken notice and made security a top priority.

The piece of this that I find interesting has nothing to do with business. It has to do with people being concerned for their personal identity and information. People are being targeted on an individual basis and must be vigilant in protecting themselves from would-be criminals. You can go online today and purchase identity theft protection. Think about that for a minute. Have you thought about it? OK. Big players in the insurance industry are offering services to help protect you. This in itself is a real comment on the state of the world. Perpetrators are becoming more creative. You don’t just have to contend with the calls from “Microsoft Support” or your bank looking to confirm your account info. Your identity could be stolen without you realizing that anything has occurred. Although you read about this type of theft, most of us don’t take the steps to protect ourselves.

Another layer of complexity is added once you have a family. I have 3 preteen children. Today’s children are (or want to be) more connected than ever. They want a Facebook account, an email address, a smartphone, etc. My wife and I have forbidden Facebook until they are teens…and a smartphone is at least a year or two away. I’ve put in some time on the home network to set up a few controls so that we can monitor what our kids are trying to do when they are using a computer for ‘homework’. This doesn’t mean that I can kick back, assured that the kids are safe. No, not at all. We have locked down Microsoft accounts for the Xbox, weekly activity reports on their gaming use, and a regular review of their email inboxes. My parents told me to look both ways when crossing the street and to never take candy from strangers…haha.

What about smart home tech? IoT (the Internet of Things) is pretty cool. We can unlock our doors with a phone app, brew java with smart coffee makers, and turn on the a/c with smart thermostats. Life is becoming more and more about automation through networking technology. There is a cost here though. IoT presents security challenges, as smart devices are susceptible to many of the same types of attacks as traditional networks.  Let’s face it…most people don’t give that concept a second thought. It’s well advertised these days to be vigilant when it comes to phishing scams and malware threats at work. In IT, we preach this every day. I believe that a lot of our clients take this to heart and try to be as safe as possible. I do wonder, however, how many of them heed the advice at home. Protecting your identity is important regardless of where you are and what you are doing. Be careful out there – especially at home.