Welcome to 2018! We at Elite Networking & Consulting want to wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, & prosperous 2018!
Each year we all make New Year’s resolutions to help to improve ourselves, whether it is a health related goal, a lifestyle change, or other commitments. In 2018, we should all focus our efforts on cybersecurity and the protection of our online data.
Why? In 2017, over 143 million Americans had their data compromised in the Equifax breach. Yahoo upped its estimate on email accounts hacked in the past 4 years to 3 billion – that’s at least once for every Yahoo user. Ransomware wreaked havoc on national health systems, international governments, global corporations, and individuals like you and me. Security experts project that 2018 will create more cyber breaches and more ransomware breakouts.
So, we are recommending that you consider the following precautions to provide better protection for your personal and business data.
1. Start with strong passwords. In this digital day and age, passwords are paramount – and the more complex the better. We use passwords for email accounts, social media profiles, computers, online accounts, and may more. Gone are the days of using a simplistic password of “Password123”. All passwords should contain a random sting of characters, not a word, phrase, name, or birthday. Most sites and companies require a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. We recommend a minimum of 8 characters for your password, in this format (do not use this sample): P@$$w0rD2018. The word “Password” in any combination of letters and numbers should never be used.
2. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) whenever possible. This requires that you enter a unique code sent to you by text message by the site you are visiting (i.e. Gmail) to verify that you are who you say you are. You can set up the 2FA in the security section of the site. We use 2FA as often as possible. Will it take a minute or two longer to get into your site? Yes, but safety is the key. If you get a text message from your site asking you to enter your code, and you are not initiating access to the site, you cannot reply. Then you know that your site is secure. Contact your IT vendor for assistance with setting up 2FA or changing your password.
3. Lock your computer when you walk away from it. This action seems simple but is the most overlooked. In an office of more than 1 person, security is a key. Locking your screen will prevent eyes from viewing your work or confidential information. I remember a story about a former employee of a company that didn’t lock their computer when they went to lunch. A disgruntled employee walked up to the computer (of the former employee) and wrote an email to the President & CEO of the company, complaining about a variety of issues, including how they run the company. When confronted by upper management, the former employee was dismissed. Management stated who else could have written the email??
4. Verify EVERY link before you click on it. Before you click ANY link in an email or on a website, or from another source, place your mouse over the link without clicking it to display the text of the web address where it will take you. Spammers, phishers, and other cybercriminals will often make the display text of a link appear innocuous when in fact one click will redirect you to a malicious website that could install malware on your computer or encrypt all your files via a ransomware attack. All it takes is that one wrong click to spell disaster for your computer, your data, and possibly even your co-workers and all the systems of your business.
5. Back up your data. Ransomware, data breaches, natural disasters, and cyberattacks can wreak havoc on your business. However, if your data is backed up regularly, you can bounce back from a possible catastrophe. Backup can be cloud based or local, however, we recommend a cloud backup. Why? If the catastrophe is a fire or windstorm (including frozen pipes), any local backup will be damaged and could be unrecoverable.
No matter what’s on your New Year’s resolution list, cybersecurity is critical in 2018. Not sure what steps to take first? Confused about which IT strategy is most imperative? Contact Elite Networking & Consulting, today at 855-767-9685, ext. 700 or firstname.lastname@example.org