4 top tips for staying safe online

In today's interconnected world, there can be no doubt that staying safe online should be a priority for both individuals and businesses. If you run a small business, it doesn't just mean looking after your own devices and equipment but also knowing how to deal with the actions of employees and co-workers.

There are many simple steps that anyone can take to help ensure they are operating safely and securely online. Here are four of the most important:

Passwords

A password is the first line of defence against hacking. Email accounts are often the weakest link when it comes to gaining access to information and compromising systems. You can protect your email accounts by using strong passwords containing different letters, numbers, and symbols. You should never use an easy to guess word or phrase, and even substituting numbers for letters has become so common that cybercriminals find it easy to side-step.

Patches and updates

Software creators and providers always try to stay one step ahead of cybercrime, and where a vulnerability takes them by surprise, they act fast to fix the problem. These 'fixes' often come in the form of a small software update, sometimes called a patch, which makes changes that thwart hackers, and adds extra layers of security to your systems.

Installing the latest software and app updates not only adds vital security improvements but can also increase the performance of your system in other ways. Although patches can often be easily installed, for situations involving third-party providers or larger systems using a range of platforms and devices, it can be best to leave the procedure to IT professionals.

TFA

Two-factor authentication (TFA) is becoming more common because it is a simple way to add an extra layer of security to any number of different log-in situations. It can be particularly useful for email accounts. TFA involves adding a second stage after the password and is the second form of 'handshake' whereby a word or phrase known only to the two parties involved is used to confirm identity. The forward-looking aspect of TFA is that it doesn't simply have to take the form of a second password-style authentication made up of written characters, as it can take the form of biometric data, a separate form of electronic connection, or any number of other methodologies.

Backing up

Even the most secure systems can sometimes fail, either through a deliberate attack, human error, or equipment failure. This is where backing up your data is vital, and using external drives or a remote off-site cloud-based storage system are the safest ways to act. When you do this type of disaster recovery backup regularly, you can mitigate any catastrophic event because your information can be quickly replicated on another system. Whether this means replacing a laptop or a whole company-wide infrastructure, productivity downtime can be reduced to a minimum.

At GCC, we can advise you on how to manage your online safety practises and also recommend systems that will best suit your needs. Talk to us for more details.