How often do you think about the security of your computer? If you’ve heard horror stories from other businesses or you know someone whose identity was stolen, you may be a person who prioritizes cybersecurity. But there are many people who don’t!
Here are a few questions to consider on this topic.
- Is your data backed up?
- Are you running on Windows 10, the latest operating system?
- Is your anti-virus and anti-malware software up to date?
- Are your 3rd party applications on current versions?
- Are you using multi-factor authentication as well as routinely changing your passwords for web portal logins?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these, you can feel fairly confident in the security of your technology. If you’re unsure of your answer, you should look to the support of IT specialists like us. Maybe it’s time you call or email us for a free consultation!
We’d like to teach you a little more about how certain practices impact your security. There are a few simple things you can do right away. Read on to find 7 of our top recommendations for keeping your computer secure.
1. Restart Your Computer Regularly
This is one of the simplest tasks, but it’s often overlooked. Restarting your computer regularly is not only good for the health of your hardware and software, but also for the protection of your data within it. We know many companies who have auto-reminders telling their entire team to restart their computer at the start or end of each week. You may want to consider this too!
This practice helps in protecting your computer since important Windows security patches and other updates require a reboot to happen in order to install. A reboot will often help fix many small issues and even help speed your computer back up to normal as it clears out old temporary data that may be stuck in the random access memory (RAM).
2. Keep Your Firewall, Anti-Virus, and Anti-Malware Up-to-date
That brings us to tip #2! Having a firewall for your network is the first line of defense in helping protect yourself and your data against cyberattacks. Firewalls prevent unauthorized users from accessing your websites, mail services, and other sources of information that can be accessed from the web. Firewalls can be implemented as software and hardware.
Then, there’s anti-virus software. It is one of the most common cybersecurity tools used for personal PCs and office technology. It can remove viruses that may have reached your computer.
Anti-malware takes it one step further detecting and fighting against other malicious software, like ransomware attacks and spyware, that an anti-virus cannot remove.
You should have all 3 of these measures and they must stay up to date.
3.Upgrade to Windows 10
A recent milestone occurred with Windows software. Microsoft terminated support for older products such as Windows 7 and Office 2010. If a person keeps those outdated versions, it means they can’t use new anti-virus and anti-malware software because it’s not compatible. It also means that if a problem occurs with your computer, however big or small, there’s little to no technical support available in regards to those products. Our organization talked a lot about this technology milestone in the past year. We’ve helped many companies make the move to the latest Microsoft products. We’re still offering this service but it cannot be delayed much longer.
4. Use Best Practices with Passwords
Strong, complex passwords help to stop cybercriminals from accessing information, whether its personal or company data. Simple passwords, passwords that have been the same for years, or ones that have been re-used for multiple platforms make you an easier target.
If a cybercriminal figures out a password, it could give them access to a company’s entire network. It’s essential to use best practices with password creation. A strong password contains:
- at least 10 characters
- uses both capital and lowercase letters
- includes numbers and symbols
It’s also important to choose multi-factor authentication. You could also consider an auto-reminder to change your password every few months. Changing and remembering all of your passwords and authentication questions can be challenging. A password manager can help.
Keeper, Passportal, and LastPass are recommended tools used by many of the top businesses. This also makes it possible to use randomly generated passwords which are stronger than user created passwords. Many people will write out passwords on sticky notes and keep them on their monitor or in a Word document on their desktop. We do not recommend this! This is also where a password manager is great because you can securely save everything in a secure vault, only needing to remember one password to be able to log into the password manager.
5. Backup Your Computer
Simply put, backing up your data is fail-safe. If something does happen to your computer, you still have a copy of the information you need. Go here to see more about an easy way to do an off-site back up.
6. Avoid Pop-ups, Unknown Emails, and Suspicious Links
It’s important to know the signs of malicious software.
Phishers prey on employees in hopes they will open pop-up windows or click on bad links that could have viruses and malware embedded in them. That’s why it’s important to be cautious of all links and attachments in emails from senders you don’t recognize. With just one click, you could enable hackers to infiltrate your organization’s network.
Here’s a rule to follow: Never enter personal or company information in response to an email, pop-up webpage, or any other form of communication you didn’t initiate. Phishing can lead to identity theft and it’s the way most ransomware attacks occur.
7. Go Through A Proper Cybersecurity Training Course
We believe it’s the responsibility of every employee to know their company’s cybersecurity policies and be accountable of the practices we’ve just mentioned, even if you do so through the help of in-house or outsourced IT specialists. Also wise companies take the time to train their employees.
It’s important not to leak your company’s data or intellectual property. For example, use caution when sharing photos from inside your office. There should also be a process for disposing of company information or material that’s no longer needed. If you’re unsure about a cybersecurity measure or policy for your workplace, ask!
We offer effective cybersecurity training at Axiom Solutions. It’s an in-depth course that even includes testing your employees with fake examples of malware. Let us know if you’d like to offer this to your team.
We hope you’ve learned a little more about cybersecurity through these computer security tips. If they were familiar to you, consider this article a friendly reminder.
If you’re left with an uncertain feeling of what to do next, please call us right away! We’ll do a security audit. Then, we can discuss training opportunities as well as our IT support options. If you select our managed services, our team will begin overseeing all your technology needs and execute best practices on your behalf so that the security of your technology is one less thing you have to worry about.