October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and while the month is more than half over, there’s still plenty of time to re-examine your digital profile and beef up your security. Cybersecurity threats are everywhere these days, but these few small changes can go a long way in keeping both your business and your private life safer online.
- Re-evaluate your passwords and consider a password manager application.
You’ve learned better than to use “password” as your password. It’s a good start, but most passwords still leave a lot of room for improvement. Your spouse’s name followed by the numeral 1 might be easy to remember, but it is easy to hack for the same reason. Avoid proper nouns and easily recognizable words and mix in numbers or special characters – your password should look as random as possible.
But is it possible to come up with a different, completely random password for each login credential you need?
Fortunately, the answer is yes! Password manager applications allow you to randomly generate unique, secure passwords at a moment’s notice, and then store them for future use. To maximize your security for both your personal and professional internet usage, a password manager is a must.
- Use multi-factor authentication.
For an extra layer of security, enable multi-factor authentication for any logins that allow access to particularly sensitive information. With multi-factor authentication, the user is required to go through at least one extra step, such as entering a temporary passcode sent to the user’s smartphone.
With multi-factor authentication, access is tied to a separate device held by an authorized user, and not just a potentially hackable password. Sure, it’s a mild inconvenience, but when it comes to your company’s most valuable data, it pays to take a safety-first approach.
- Don’t delay software updates.
Nearly everyone has clicked the “remind me later” option when prompted with a software update at some point. It’s understandable – interruptions to your workflow are always inconvenient – but it’s vital to either schedule the update for a more convenient time or get back to it as soon as possible.
Software updates often contain crucial security patches that protect against the latest security threats or potential vulnerabilities in the software and skipping them can leave your entire network at risk. Major vendors like Adobe and Microsoft release their software updates on Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of each month. The day after is known as Exploit Wednesday – a day on which bad actors take advantage of the publicly announced vulnerabilities, and anyone who failed to update their software is a potential target. Don’t be the next target; update your software!
- Back up your files!
Ask any cybersecurity expert, and they’ll tell you that ransomware is one of the most menacing threats out there now, and for good reason. Ransomware can wreak havoc on your business, and potentially bring down your entire network – unless you’ve backed it up.
There’s never any guarantee that paying the ransom will ensure the safe return of your files, but if you regularly back up your data, preferably in multiple formats and multiple locations, you could save your business a massive headache.
- Keep yourself and your employees educated.
Never take for granted that your employees are following cybersecurity best practices. Cyber threats evolve at the same fast pace that technology does, and it’s vital to stay one step ahead. Utilize available resources to stay informed of the newest developments in the field, and keep your employees trained against potential security breaches like phishing or email scams.
A small investment of time and resources could pay for itself hundreds of times over in protecting your business. Tech Electronics offers a suite of IT solutions, and we can help get you on track for a safer digital future. Contact one of our specialists today to get started.