How to Stay Safe Online

As today is Get Safe Online Day, it only seems appropriate to delve into the world of online security. It is a vital support for any company and should be one of your highest priorities, if not the highest.

Cyber crime is real, as residents of Northern Ireland have recently discovered, facing a £13 million loss to the criminals behind the keyboards. The ignorance of safe internet practice has left many hackers with the keys to the back door to all of your vital information. So, what steps should you and your company take in order to be as secure as possible online?

Password Protection 

It is tempting to have one password for everything. Everyone is guilty of this – but you wouldn’t catch anyone at Q2Q doing it! The more internet savvy you get the more you realise that this is a bad idea. No password is infallible and once hackers have one, they have them all.

Complicating your password as much as possible (that is also memorable) is the safest method. Mixed case sensitivity is one way to heighten the security of your password. For example, ‘mypassword’ and ‘MyPassword’ are only slightly different, but this slight variation makes it that much more difficult to guess. Obviously, do not use that example in the literal sense… Using password as your password is never a good idea!

Other ways to make your password iron clad include adding numbers, using symbols such as ampersand and ideally more than eight characters. The more random the password the better as well. People might guess you use your daughter’s name for your password, however, would they guess your password is, in fact, the name of your pet rock? Probably not. Variety is the spice of life and the key to password protection.

Privacy Settings

Hackers may not be after your money. Accessing your Facebook, Twitter or even your LinkedIn profile can also give them vital data that may compromise your online presence. Enabling the highest privacy settings on these platforms, which is often the standard setting, means that you will have the Fort Knox of social media.

Of course, as a business, you still want to be found. It is better to be safe than sorry, however, as the wrong word said on social media is hard to come back from (even if it wasn’t you). Not all hackers want money, some want to destroy your reputation.

Defend Your Network

Malware can be a day-long headache or it can be a full-blown epidemic in your office. Leaving your software open to even a slight sniffle is a mistake, especially in this day of increasingly effective preventative software and firewalls. This day one preventative measure can benefit your business in the long run.

Keeping malware at bay can fall down to a number of key measures. The firewall is obviously your first line of defence; this comes built into many Internet routers, but you must remember to turn it on. It is by no means a comprehensive safety measure, only the first layer to a series of protections such as security software, browser filters, antispam email blockers and other such protection software.

These may all seem like obvious things, but so often people leave these out of their IT strategies and leave it for employees to deal with on individual machines. It is a case of not treating the finger when you have a broken arm. Protect your network from the source and you will create a secure computer system instantly.

Create Backups

Backups are the best friend of any computer user. Hardware problems happen, malware happens and even hacking can happen to you no matter how much you try to prevent it. Having a contingency for this eventuality is vital. After all, what would you do if a hacker deleted your whole system? You would be faced with restarting the IT side of your business from scratch.

A reputable cloud-based backup is a necessity in order to stay safe online. You store your money in a bank for protection, this is the same idea on a virtual level. Files can be corrupted; you can be locked out of them or they can be deleted entirely in the case of an attack. The ability to then instantly restore them after this is, without a doubt, a huge relief. If it is irreplaceable then there should never be only one copy. Backing up your data gives you both peace of mind and the security that your data is not going to disappear overnight.

Are you concerned about the safety of your company online? Then contact us on 01524 581690 to discuss your options with our friendly team here at Q2Q-IT, or you can email us at [email protected].

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