7 IT Tasks that are Critical to Your Cyber Security
Some people think that technology - and a good IT team - is all that’s needed to protect their computers and mobile devices from cyber criminals. But all technology users play a critical role in IT and cyber security.
In fact, people have moved ahead of machines as the top target for cyber criminals, according to a recent csoonline.com story, making them the first line of defense.
While it’s a digital world, there are manual tasks and work habits connected to technology that make all the difference in safeguarding computers and confidential information.
Here are 7 common IT and cyber security tasks that everyone should do:
- UPDATE AND PATCH: Notifications to update and patch various software programs and operating systems often pop up when you’re in the middle of doing something important. Don’t put it off. Updating and patching may seem like a hassle but it is good prevention. Updates address software vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. Once malware infects a computer, it can steal data and allow the attacker to take control.
- SCAN YOUR COMPUTER: The time it takes to scan your computer with anti-virus and anti-spam programs is also worth it. Many security experts recommend scanning hard drives about once a week.
- CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS: The 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon showed that 81% of hacking related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords. Stop using easy-to-guess passwords like ‘password’, ‘12345’ and the name of your dog. Instead use a mix of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. Also, use different passwords for different sites and devices.
- IGNORE SUSPICIOUS EMAILS: In a German study, 78% of people claimed to be aware of the risks of unknown links in emails – yet they clicked anyway. Don’t be duped and open a phishing email, a file attachment or click on a malicious link from people you don’t know or someone whose language or request is suspicious.
- BACK UP DATA: According to a U.S. government paper, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred every day since the start of 2016. Ransomware withholds data and won’t release it unless you pay a ransom. Protect yourself by backing up data regularly and storing it in another location or on a device that is not online. (This will be helpful if your computer crashes too.)
- PROTECT YOUR OWN DEVICE: Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) is common today in the workplace but it can increase security risks for employers. Acronis research has shown that 77% of employees are not educated about the threats associated with BYOD. Utilize IT safeguards but practice security-driven behavior too - download apps only from reliable sources, use encryption, and avoid public Wi-Fi when accessing business data outside the workplace.
- DON’T TOSS OLD DEVICES: The 2017 Shred-it State of the Industry Report showed that most workplaces do not prioritize best practices for the storage and destruction of electronic devices. They should. One of the most important best practice is to securely destroy hard drives and e-media when no longer needed. A trustworthy document destruction company will provide these services.
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