If you’re someone that loves to surf the internet or if your computer is linked to the internet, in anyway, then you should be well aware of the risks that are present online. Computer security, which is also known as IT security or Cyber security, is essentially the protection of our computer systems from the theft or damage of our software and/or hardware, as well as from the disruption of provided services. Data security on the other hand, means the protection of our data, such as databases, from destructive elements drawn from unauthorised access.
Every computer user out there should at the very least, be aware of the basics in IT security. The tips below are just some of the things you should be aware of, prior to getting online.
1. Use Long and Strong Passwords
Although, sometimes it can feel like everyone online is in some way against you, but that really isn’t the case. It’s a tool that has altered the way that we do practically everything today. Unfortunately, as is the case in everything involving man, there are always those bad elements. However, there are times when we can only blame ourselves. For instances, we do ourselves no favours when we choose to use passwords that are easy to guess. You might as well give random strangers free access to your personal data. The Cyber Crime Reduction Partnership announced, not so long ago, that the number of cause for data breaches was poor passwords.
So if you want to ensure that your data is secure from hackers, you better think of a password that can do that. You want to go with a password that is at least 8 characters or more uses both numbers and letters, randomised of course, combining all these elements and you should be on your way to cyber safety. There are password checkers that you can use to check the strength of your password, so I recommend you check one of those out. You may also want to check out guides on how to create a truly strong password.
2. Use a Strong Phone Lock Code
Most people tend to see the 4-digit PIN on their mobile phones as the most secure locking code. However, that is anything but the truth. What you want to do is add an additional digit, to increase security. For Android and iOS, you can find this option in the settings. Android users also have the lock screen tool, which end users can use to enhance the overall security of their phone.
3. Use Two-Factor Verification
Two-factor authentication is there to offer an additional layer of security, to protect your system(s) from compromised passwords. This is a feature you should have enabled, anywhere you find it. Additionally, if you were to lose your phone (which is the authentication device most often used), it’s still possible for you to get into your accounts, providing you plan ahead.
4. Have Your Own Security Policy
The first thing in your security policy should be long and strong passwords, something I’ve already talked about in this article. Another thing that you should consider, is advising employees against using their personal devices to access company data, such as their mobile phone or tablet computer. This is because, if these devices were to be misplaced, it would seriously compromise the company, especially if the company has no way of wiping the data from these devices, in the event that something like this occurs.
5. Use the Cloud
If an employee wants to access company data on one of their personal devices, then they should do it in a secure manner, to prevent any possible breaches. In order for them to do this, it’s recommended that company data be moved to a cloud. Cloud servers tend to be far more secure than onsite servers; this is because these cloud services are designed to be hack-proof.
6. Use VPN on Public Wi-Fi
Whenever you decide to use public Wi-Fi, it’s very important that you ensure such a network is secure. In order to protect your device and all the data on it, it’s best that you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), as they are designed to keep you safe.
7. Email Security
The last thing that should happen at your company is employees using their work email accounts for personal use. All they have to do is sign up to the wrong site, and their account could be flooded with thousands of spam emails. Some of which is likely to contain malicious files and phishing scams.