October is Cybersecurity Month. We all know that practicing good computer security is not that difficult but we often forget that it is something that must be adhered to at all times. Cybercriminals sit in the wings waiting for that one slip up to get at your data. This is not meant to sound like a doomsday warning, but instead, offer you the tools you need to ensure that your business data stays safe.
The following is a checklist you can use to not only educate your staff but as a reminder for yourself as well.
Starting with the obvious, don’t share your passwords with anyone and if you can, avoid writing them down on a post-it and sticking it on your monitor. This sounds like a no-brainer but take a look around at the computers in your area or when you are out and about, and you will see that this common-sense tip needs repeating.
Don’t use passwords that could be easy to guess such as your birth date or other apparent dates. Good cryptic passwords contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password should be at least 8 characters in length and difficult to guess.
Criminals are getting more and more sophisticated in the measures they use to try and get you to click on a link. Many company logos are readily available on websites, and can easily be mimicked. The language a business conveys messages can be simple to repeat if you spend enough time on their website or social media. A dead give away in knowing that an email is a phishing attempt is they ask for personal information such as a password. A reputable company will not ask for this information in an email.
Also, be wary of emails that ask you to click outside of that email. Only click on links from trusted sources. If you cannot independently verify the link is safe, don’t click on it. Do not open any unsolicited or unexpected attachments. Last but not least, hover over the sender’s email. If you don’t recognize the email or it doesn’t look legit, don’t click on anything in the email.
Use a firewall as part of a healthy cybersecurity defense
A firewall is designed to be either a hardware or software-based network security system to control incoming and outgoing traffic. It is a barrier that acts as a traffic controller. Traffic coming from a trusted network is allowed in, while traffic from an untrusted source is denied. A firewall allows a business not only to create rules to manage bandwidth or prioritize network traffic by the application, but you can also set up limitations on network access, application usage, and bandwidth allocation for each user or group.
Patches and Updates
It seems to happen at the worst of times! You are right in the middle of trying to get out that important report and you see the popup, reminding you of an update or informing you of a patch. Of course, it is easy just to hit the ‘remind me later’ button, but will you remember later?
Make it a habit of shutting down your computer or laptop at least once a week to ensure that all updates and patches are installed. This practice will only take minutes and may save you from a vulnerability that could take a lot more time and money to fix than you are prepared for.
Report any suspicious activity to your tech team or supervisor.
If you think you have received a phishing attempt or other ransomware, tell your tech team. Take protective measures to guard your business data, such as the tips above. Ask questions if you don’t understand the security procedures your company has in place. Inform yourself of the potential threats out there.
These few tips may seem elementary, but it is easy to forget when we get busy. If you don’t have a tech guy or department, you can rely on an MSP like MicroAge IT Solutions to protect the sensitive data your organization relies on to conduct business. Don’t wait until your business is hit, be proactive and ready for when it does. Call us today to find out how our solutions can keep your company safeguarded.
MicroAge believes in educating businesses on the benefits of partnering with an MSP.
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