In this digital age where privacy is of the utmost importance, we are obligated to ensure that protecting our data is of top priority. After all, we can’t expect our data to be protected if we don’t take the necessary actions to protect it. Over the last couple of months, we’ve explored areas of concern for security and we’ve provided several tips so you can carry on with your work or personal life knowing that you and your data are safe. Today, we’re wrapping up our “Protect…” series by walking through 5 ways to protect your network, whether it be personal or for business.
Update Passwords Regularly
We’ve mentioned several times about the importance of having a good password, but it’s also worth mentioning that changing/updating your passwords regularly is a good idea. The general rule of thumb is to do this at least once every quarter, but the more often it changes, the more protected you can expect to be. If you do decide to change passwords more than once a quarter, make sure that you don’t do it too often so you and/or your employees don’t get too confused. If you are getting confused, it may be a good idea to start using a password manager. We recommend 1Password.
Regardless of how often you change your passwords, doing so promotes good health and helps prevent hackers from guessing your passwords that may protect sensitive information. Remember, changing your passwords only works as intended if you utilize good passwords from the get-go. A few tips:
- Don’t substitute common letters for symbols (i.e. replacing an “o” with a “0” is easier to guess than one may think)
- Don’t use easy to guess phrases or dates of birth
- A password should be a good combination of numbers, letters, and symbols
Turn Off Computers When They Are Not Being Used
This tip may be overlooked, but it is important that you understand it so that you can take action and do differently in the future. Keeping a computer on but idle means the network is still up and running, which makes the network more visible to hackers and makes it easier for them to hack if the network is still connected. Shutting down your device when it’s not in use limits the access of hackers to your network and can stop them in the act if they’re already connected.
Encrypt your Files and Data (When Necessary)
When you have sensitive data that needs to be sent or shared, encrypt it! If you encrypt everything, this can be an expensive and tedious process, which is why we recommend only encrypting the things that need to be encrypted. A strong encryption makes it virtually impossible (or, at least, close to impossible) for hackers to access your data. To see which sites are encrypted, look for a padlock icon in the address bar in your browser or check if the site begins in “https.”
When you’re ready to encrypt files on your mac, go to: Finder > Control + click the item you want to encrypt. Select “encrypt” from the menu. Then, create a password, and it’s done!
Filter Spam Emails
One of the most common ways a network becomes compromised is through phishing emails in which one clicks on a bad link. To prevent the likelihood of falling victim to a phishing attack, set up and utilize a spam filter in your email inbox. These settings vary a bit depending on which email provider you use, but they all do generally the same thing: they make it less likely that one of these phishing emails will make its way to your inbox (not impossible).
Protect Your Personal Devices
Prevent your network from being compromised by first protecting your personal devices! First, don’t leave bluetooth on when not in use – bluetooth hacking is a real thing. Protect yourself by simply leaving this feature off until you need it.
Additionally, don’t use unsecured public wifi. If you have no other option, use the unsecured wifi with a VPN, which provides an encrypted “tunnel” between you and a remote server so if anyone tries to spy on you, they can’t see your data (more on that here).
It’s always a good idea to change the passwords on your personal devices regularly, too. Make sure your passwords aren’t easy to guess, especially your wifi password!
Protecting a network may sometimes be more work than the steps listed above, but this list is a good starting point for taking action to secure your network. The more work you put in to protect your network from being hacked, the less likely it may be that your network gets hacked. The time and effort are clearly worth the relief and the safeguarding of your data.
If you’ve missed any of the previous installments of this series, check them out: