Hoping to find a new laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device under the tree? Every time you use technology, whether at work or at home, you are sharing personal identifiable information (PII). With any new device, you must take precautions to ensure safe processing and storage of this data. Without a proactive-security approach to defend against hackers and identity thieves, you are setting yourself up for an unhappy 2019.
Antivirus software, using strong passwords and changing them frequently are great first steps, but they are not enough to protect you. Our engineers have put together these 7 tips to help safeguard you on all sides.
- Secure your router
While ISPs, cable modems and digital subscriber lines (DSL) generally provide security monitoring to some degree, it’s important to set up your router’s firewall as another critical layer of protection. Refer to your user’s guide for step-by-step instructions and make sure to choose a strong password to help prevent uninvited changes.
- Enable and configure your operating system firewall
Most of today’s computers have an integrated firewall already built in to the operating system. Ensuring the firewall is turned on and settings are customized to suit your usage helps prevent malicious software from gaining access to your devices through a network or the internet.
- Enable automatic updates
From software to operating systems, enabling automatic updates whenever possible is the easiest way to patch vulnerabilities. This will further safeguard your devices against hackers on the prowl.
- Remove or turn off unnecessary software and device features
Turning off or customizing features of your device set by the manufacturer, as well as removing unnecessary applications reduces the points of entry an intruder can exploit. Take some time to review the applications and features on your device. If you don’t know what a particular program or feature does, research it to confirm whether or not it is required for operation before turning it off or uninstalling.
- Secure your web browser
Most antivirus software offers additional plug-ins to safeguard you. Enabling the security features in all your web browsers adds another layer of protection.
- Be cautious with email attachments and embedded links
Phishing and whaling can get you into trouble if you don’t know what to look for. Do not click on links or open email attachments that contain poor grammar, punctuation or misspellings. Watch out for suspicious emails from banks, online retailers or anyone requesting passwords or other sensitive information. Inspect suspicious URLs by hovering over links and attachments before clicking on them, and make sure to verify and review sender domains. It’s always better to call the source of the email on the phone directly to confirm the validity of the request. Educate yourself and see real-world examples in our ransomware guide.
- Always check with IT before using a personal device for work
Connecting personal devices to a work environment increases your employer’s vulnerability to data breaches. Many companies have strict policies about using personal devices for work activities, so it is absolutely critical to check with your internal IT department before connecting.
As technologies advance and become a greater part of our lives both at home and at work, so should cybersecurity. Our Premonition™ Security Suite is a managed-security solution that delivers multi-layered protection for small and medium-sized business, including organizational awareness courses that help you stay ahead of the changing cyber-threat landscape. Call us at (855) PRO-TELL and ensure your organization has a happy 2019 and many more to come.