Hooded hackers don't cause most security breaches. Ordinary computer users do. Careless email mistakes, faxes on the floor, and easy-to-guess passwords can put your business' data at risk.
Keep your data locked away with this easy list of dos and don'ts.
- Choose passwords carefully. Make sure employees avoid repeated phrases, their own names, and letter strings like qwerty when creating passwords. Also shy away from addresses, real words, and family members' names. Instead, encourage your team to craft long passwords using special characters, numbers, and capital letters. It's always a good idea to run a potential password through a site like How Secure Is My Password before choosing it.
- Learn about network security. You don't need a master's degree in cybersecurity to get up to speed on basic office procedures for data protection. Sites like Coursera and Udemy offer low-cost courses in data security for beginners. You can also take time to read blogs like ours, watch relevant YouTube videos, or even head to the local community college for a professional education course.
- Save work-related data on the network. Many employees don't realize that their company isn't backing up the files saved on their laptops or desktops. A breach, a faulty computer, or a mishandled cup of coffee could destroy important information. Back it all up to the server.
- Encrypt data. Encryption is not as complicated as it sounds. Just put everything under password protection. No data encryption method is 100% foolproof, but most black hat hackers aren't the geniuses that TV shows portray, either. If it looks complicated to break in, they'll move on to an easier target.
- Use network virus protection software. The simplest way to protect your data is an over-the-counter virus protection software. Keep it updated, paid up, and running on all your devices. Managing virus protection is one of the key values a managed service provider brings to an enterprise.
- Report any unauthorized use of your computer. Internal threats account for 75% of data breaches. No one wants to suspect their coworkers of wrongdoing, but if an employee returns from lunch or a bathroom break to find someone else on the computer, he or she should report the incident to a supervisor and/or the IT department immediately.
- Lock your workstation when you step away from your computer. One way to keep nosy colleagues - or lurking cybercriminals - at bay is simply to lock the workstation under a password each time an employee gets up.
- Inform network administrators of employee departures. Managers and human resource officers need to let IT know of an employee's departure before it happens if possible. That way, no critical data gets lost in the scuffle of a transition.
- Leave passwords around your workplace. There is no point in creating passwords if you are going to write them down on colorful Post-It notes and stick them to your monitor.
- Save personal or sensitive information on shared network resources. Your employees open themselves up to scammers, identity theft, and even legal consequences by storing personal information on a public drive. Encourage them not to do it.
- Open suspicious emails. It's the oldest trick on the internet. Hackers send an email with an attachment that opens a virus, a trojan horse, or malware on your employee's computer. Today, you can't get a virus from opening an email or even using the preview pane, but attachments are still dangerous. Don't open them if they have a weird name, a .zip ending, come from an unknown source, or look suspicious in any other way.
- Leave sensitive data on your hard drive. All sensitive data needs to be locked away. If it's paper, put it under lock and key. If it's digital, use a password.
- Use automatic login features. A password is pointless if you automate it. Employees should leave the automatic logins for their home computers. They need to log in each time they use a work account or check a personal account on an office computer.
Taking these simple precautionary steps can do more to protect data than many business owners realize. Training and incentivizing employees to practice good data protection can keep your business humming without interference from malware, cybercrime, or internal misuse.
Get peace of mind about your company's data security with an audit from Wolf Technology Group. We'll help you find any areas that could use improvement and then make recommendations on how to better protect yourself from potential cyber-threats. Click the banner below, give us a call, or contact us online to get started today!