November 30th is National Computer Security Day. Yes, there is such a thing, and it's purpose to raise awareness and to promote best practices in Information Security. Now some of you may feel that you are already pretty savvy when it comes to computer security, but it never hurts to have a refresh and double check that you are still covered.
With this in mind, we have compiled a check list to ensure you are playing your part in keeping your computer safe.
5 Ways You Can Play Your Part On National Computer Security Day:
1 The "P" Word: There has been talk for a long time about the demise of the password, but at present it's still the main way of securing most accounts. Scarily, we are still finding people with the user name "Admin" and passwords as obvious as 12345, or Password$1. Some sites now insist you have upper and lower case letters as well as numbers or signs, and it is worth using this as best practice across the board. Sites such as LastPass will help you to securely save multiple passwords although to be even more secure see point 3 below.
2 Update Everything: The reason computers and software require regular updates is not, common to popular belief, just to interfere with your day and annoy you. These updates help to keep you safe and are an essential element to your computer security tool kit. As soon as vulnerabilities are discovered, updates to cover these potential exploits are sent out, and if you don't update you will be left exposed. This includes your anti virus, and, please also note, Windows 7 is due to come to an end in just over a year, so if you are using this, or an even older OS, your software may not be able to update and you will be susceptible to attack.
3 Encryption: For any business to be GDPR compliant you need to have every single device encrypted. This means that should anyone else get hold of your laptop or work phone they won't be able to access any of the data on that machine. In addition to the machines, anything stored in the cloud should be encrypted, which is why all of our machines are encrypted as well as our shared cloud briefcase and backups - of which more below...
4 Backup: With the best will and intentions a computer can still fail, or get lost or stolen. Your data should be safe if you have followed the check list above, but what if even you can't access it? For businesses we recommend having more than one backup, but everybody who uses a computer should have a secure, encrypted backup. The backup that we use, and recommend, ensures that every time you go online all your files are backed up and updated if you have altered them. It also means that should you need to access your data on another machine, say yours has gone to be repaired, you can log in online and Ta Dah! It's all there for you. Permission levels can also be set so if you have employees who you only want to see certain files this can be arranged.
5 Settings: When you first sign up to some sites you are asked to check your Privacy Settings - but when did you last review them? For sites such as Facebook you may have created your account over a decade ago and the settings have changed over the years. For any social media site, and accounts such as your Google account, it's worth scheduling reviews every so often to ensure you are aware of who is able to access what data about yourself.
We're aware that the phenomenon security fatigue is affecting some people - this refers to those who are feeling overwhelmed by the need to stay alert against threats to their data, and we empathise with that. Scare stories abound about the latest security breach, email scam, or viruses. However, we are responsible for maintaining our own security measures to ensure that it's not us who gets caught out. Following our five check points above will go a long way to helping you stay safe on National Computer Security day and there after.