8 security tips every employee should follow

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Hackers and cybercriminals make the digital world a scary place. With these 8 security tips, you can get started with protecting yourself and your business from IT headaches to data breaches.

1. Check what you are plugging into your computer.

Where did that USB drive come from? Unless you are sure you know the answer to that question, be wary with what you plug into your computer. USB drives and external hard disks can be contaminated with viruses, keyloggers and other nasties that could make your Monday hell. The best course of action is to use drives from trusted sources (preferably your own) or reformat the disk before use.

2. Are you sure you know where that link goes?

Across the entire web, from websites to emails, there are many blue, underlined sirens calling out to you, begging to be clicked on. Don't be fooled! Always check the links before you venture on. If you are using a quality antivirus, it may prompt you about dodgy sites. However, if you aren't using one, you can use websites such as Kaspersky Virusdesk to check the links for you and make sure you don't get caught out!

3. Lock your computer, especially if there are people around.

While this tip is useful for stopping your co-workers changing your desktop background to something wholly inappropriate. It is also a helpful security habit to develop. It should go without saying that leaving your computer unlocked and logged in might be a security risk. However, the number of people that forget this simple step is baffling.

4. Keep up to date

One of the most common security holes in any business is the lack of updated software. Cybercriminals are usually on the cutting edge of developments, so why shouldn't you be about your security? No matter what habits you develop to keep your business safe, leaving a door wide open through outdated software is an invitation for anyone to start poking around. If remembering every week to check your software is too much of a nuisance. We suggest turning on auto-update wherever possible. If the software you use doesn't come with an auto-update feature, look to see if the app is available on an app store that can handle this for you.

5. Let password management software make your life easier.

It is common knowledge that using "password123" for every account online is a quick way of losing control of your digital life. Changing your passwords to an unreadable mess is by far the safest state a password could be in. Unfortunately, our feeble human brains are quite bad at remembering "VXxLx7@u7U*A" from "GE&H9AwJR62^". But what is the best way to manage this... well, a password manager of course! Using software such as LastPass or 1Password is a lifesaver. Not only does it store your logins for you, but it also generates passwords for you. If you regularly need to use a mobile device to log into your account, don't worry, they have that covered too!

6. If your password fails... (two-factor has your back).

Even in the unlikely event that your password gets figured out, or even worse, another company leaks your data. You should always have another line of defence. We are talking about two-factor authentication! How does two-factor authentication work? After logging into your account, you are prompted to enter a code from a separate device. Usually, this will be your phone or tablet. This increases your security dramatically because a hacker would now need access to two of your devices to start snooping around. This precaution is so valuable that companies are starting to make this a mandatory part of any account sign up.

We recommend using an app such as Authy as they provide several benefits over Google Authenticator. Such as code migration and backups, which is wise for any business looking to take security seriously.

7. Check the security of the sites you visit.

Websites come in one of two flavours, secure or insecure. But how can you tell the difference? Look in the top left of the address bar of your browser, you should see a little padlock. This padlock indicates that a site is safe and that sending data to this site is shielded from prying eyes that might want to intercept your data. Of course, not all websites are secure. This is usually indicated by the protocol in the URL of the website, for example:

http:// - Denotes an insecure site
https:// - Denotes a secure site

Some sites have both accessible, so make sure to use https instead if you have the choice.

8. Public Wi-Fi is a no-no.

Did you know it can take a hacker less than 5 seconds to find a device on a public network and begin intercepting the data? Yes, that's right, less than 5 seconds. You may feel that your local coffee shop with its charming decor and warm atmosphere would be a safe place to do a little bit of online shopping. Wrong, what you don't realise is that a hacker who isn't even in the same building as you is watching your personal data being sent to Amazon. Your most reliable solution is to not use public Wi-Fi at all, however, if you really must then use a VPN and antivirus software. A VPN will keep your information encrypted and untraceable, and antivirus software will block attackers from trying to infect your device with malware.

These 8 security tips will make the difference in your business being a sitting duck, to a virtual Fort Knox!

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To step up your security game even further, please take a look at Why Should I Hire a Hacker?

 
 
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