Individuals and small businesses face the same online threats as large corporations. Whenever you or someone in your entity is online, you and your organization are exposed to security threats. By implementing these recommended practices, you can help protect your information.
1 – Use antivirus software on all computers and servers. There are numerous vendors out there, but the most important thing is to maintain a current subscription for antivirus updates.
2 – Keep current with operating system and software updates. Windows software can be set for automatic updates, so be sure to enable this feature. This also goes for the above-mentioned antivirus software; maintain it on automatic updates.
3 – Use email responsibly. Never open attachments from unknown senders. Clicking on unknown links or opening unexpected attachments are sure causes of bad things, including viruses and phishing email. Be smart when handling unknown email. The ultimate responsibility is yours.
4 – Create “strong” passwords. The best passwords contain at least seven characters and one of each of the following: upper and lowercase characters, numbers, and special characters (such as %, $, #, etc). Bottom line, make up a password that does not mean anything — so do not use any person’s name or dates as passwords. Passwords are like toothbrushes… they’re best when fresh and should not be shared.
5 – Back up important data regularly and store extra copies offsite. This is so important that I will dedicate an entire article to this topic in a coming newsletter.
6 – Secure wireless connections. Whether you use wireless connectivity at home or work, the wireless access point or router must be protected. This is a common area of susceptibility and weakness that allows strangers to roam freely into your wireless equipment just by being in the vicinity. This is a very typical weakness where we find a lot of people needing help. And luckily it is usually a very simple setting that can protect you.
By adhering to these half-dozen steps, you decrease your chances of being affected by the common security risks-malicious code (viruses, worms), hackers (privacy violations, software vulnerabilities, phishing), or time wasters (spam, spyware/adware, popup ads). If everyone would practice safe computing by adhering to these simple rules, the just-mentioned risks would be greatly diminished or eliminated. It’s simple and inexpensive to be safe — it’s extremely costly and dangerous not to be so.
Safe computing everyone!