DIY Cyber Security Tips To Instantly Boost Protection
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last year, you’ve probably heard about the Equifax and Capital One data breaches. Most small businesses assume they aren’t a target. Fact is, every breach at a large corporation puts small businesses at an even greater risk of attack. Cyber criminals know SMB’s are especially vulnerable due to their limited investment resources. And that’s why they’re targeting them now like never before. It’s scary to think the livelihood you’ve worked so hard to provide for yourself and others could literally be wiped away tomorrow. The good news is, there are free and easy measures you can implement today to get your cyber security moving towards a more secure environment.
Here are 5 DIY cyber security tips you can implement today to instantly boost your protection.
1.) Change Your Password
This may sound like a no brainer, but this is the single most overlooked aspect of basic security. Implement a password policy that requires the use of both upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols. These combinations are the hardest to crack and are the first step in establishing a cyber defense. One common mistake to avoid is requiring password changes too frequently. This can lead to password “burnout”, and result in passwords being created that are too similar and easier to guess.
**Bonus Tip: Avoid the urge to write important passwords and keep them on an item such as a phone, or on a Post-It note stuck to your monitor. Make your staff aware of this, and don’t be afraid to conduct regular “cyber checks”, at all workstations, to be sure this risk is eliminated.
2.) Purge Old Accounts
As a business grows and experiences turnover it’s normal to have user data and login information for people who are no longer with the company. Purging this data is an easy way to boost protection by eliminating entry points to a potential hacker.
3.) Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Adding two-factor authentication to your login process is an easy way to make accessing your accounts much harder. It can be as simple as adding a phone number or email address to the sign-in process. Each system is different, but the protection two-factor authentication brings is always worth any extra effort.
4.) Update Your Software
Those annoying reminders that “updates are ready” always seem to pop up at the worst time. If you’re like most, you probably ignore them until the system requires you to install them. A simple solution to keep your systems up to date, and avoid the nagging reminders, is to set up automatic updates. Make sure each workstation is set up this way, and limit permissions to discourage anyone from disabling this setting. Additionally, scheduling updates after business hours can help avoid lost productivity during the work day, while adding an extra layer of network protection.
**Bonus Tip: By scheduling updates after business hours, you avoid lost productivity during the work day and add an extra layer of protection to your network 24/7.
5.) Train Your Squad
Your employees have a lot going on each day at the office, with each position focusing on a different aspect of importance. It’s naive to expect that everyone already implements good practices when it comes to workplace email, telephone, and social media. By training your crew in a group setting on simple things, you can create a team mindset of cyber awareness. e sure to clearly explain your desired expectations, following up with a reason for why the expectations are necessary. Basic training on phishing, spear phishing and social engineering are minimums you should implement at least every six months. Although training can seem like wasted time at work to some, imagine the impact to everyone if a breach took place. Imagine if that downtime was permanent.
**Bonus Tip: Always try to schedule any training before lunch. If this is impossible, schedule the training at least 1-2 hours after lunch. This will help those in attendance retain information better by avoiding the “afternoon crash” period.
Cyber security is vital to every business, even if there isn’t a budget to support an IT specialist full time. Luckily there are steps you can take to increase awareness, shore up defenses and steer you towards a more secure network without breaking the bank.
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UniVirtual Solutions offers IT services, including Managed IT and Cyber Security. Celebrating our 10th year in business, we continue to deliver Stress Free IT solutions to businesses and government entities of all sizes throughout GA and the US.
For more information or to schedule an IT / Cyber Security Assessment call 678-374-4352 or visit us online at www.UVS-IT.com
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