We live in an open and connected digital world. IT Security doesn’t have to be unnecessarily restrictive. If you follow these tips, you’ll feel greater piece of mind to know you’re well protected. Security isn’t really that hard for the majority and it’s mostly common sense.
Tip #1 Never let yourself be tricked into handing over sensitive information
Don’t respond to emails or phone calls requesting confidential or sensitive information. This includes personal information, employee information, financial data and company proprietary information. This is called social engineering and it’s common for hackers and criminals to use these tactics to get information about you or your company. They can use this information to their advantage both electronically or physically.
If you are ever requested information that could be sensitive, validate it’s source, that the source really needs this information and that and someone with authority to release this information is brought into the request before handing any information over.
Tip #2 Use only protected computers and devices
Accessing sensitive information from a non-secure device, like in an Internet café, a shared machine at home, or someone else’s computer you put the information you’re viewing at risk.
The computer you are running should be running up to date security patches, antivirus and a firewall. You should also work on the computer as a “user”, not and “administrator” to keep the system safe from unauthorised access to administrative only activities.
Tip #3 Keep your work area clean from personal and sensitive information
If your work area is not clean, it’s far too easy for a (wanted or unwanted) visitor to glance down at your desk and see sensitive information. Keep your work space tidy and documents locked away. It reduces the risk of information getting leaked and keeps the office looking organised.
Tip #4 Keep your devices locked and use hard to guess passwords
Always lock your electronic devices when you aren’t using them. You’re work is important and you work on important information. You want to make sure it stays safe and secure from prying eyes.
On the subject of locking devices, don’t use obvious passwords, like “password”, or a relatives name/birthday or obvious character sequences on the keyboard, like “asdfg” and “12345.” Use passwords that are a bit longer (e.g., minimum 6 characters), and are harder to guess through a computer program or manually. Include different letter cases, numbers, and even punctuation.
Try to use different passwords for different websites and computers. So if one gets hacked, your other accounts aren’t under direct threat at the same time.
Password protect, not only your computer but also sensitive files and information. It just makes good sense.
IT Security is like most other security – if you’re seen as a low risk target and your considered hard to break into, you’re in a much stronger position to be left alone by cybercriminals.
Tip #5 Be cautious and think before you click
Our jobs depend on keeping our information safe. If you think something could be a bit off, report it and get it looked into. When it comes to security, you’re far better off getting something checked out and being wrong than turning a blind eye and having to deal with the consequences. In case something goes wrong, the faster someone knows about it, the faster it can deal with it and resolved.
Be curious, of course, but don’t let it get the better of you. If and email looks suspicious, delete it and if it’s really important someone will probably call or follow up. Clicking on links to sites your not sure of, or even opening a suspicious email can compromise your computing device and any information on it. If something it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Follow these 5 simple tips and you’ll be able to sleep easy at night knowing you are doing the right thing to keep your company safe and virtual world a better and more equitable place for all.