Combating IT Risks Starts with You
Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of year when inspiration is abundant and optimism is high. No more overpriced coffee in the morning! No more slacking on those gym visits! I’m with you on all of that, but I wanted to spend some time talking, on a small home office and small business level, on how we can improve on our bad IT cyber-security habits. It’s a easy topic to be bashful about, so let’s start the year right. According to Kaspersky, 40% of businesses around the world report that employees hide incidents when it happens. The bad seems obvious, but the good news is that we all have the common sense to identify them. Without further ado, here are the top 5 IT security risks in no particular order:
- Policy ignorance. How do you follow a cybersecurity or security policy if you don’t know it exists? Make sure your staff has a copy of the employee handbook and verify that they are actively following it.
- Clicking on links. People can get conned relatively easily. It’s so easy to be deceptive on the internet. Unfortunately, clicking on that cute puppy link (even when it looks safe) can be all that malware needs to get into your computer. Please lookout for yourself and be careful in general to stay on task.
- Email attachments. Yes, we all have that friend that insists on sending us gossipy or entertainment-related email content. However, before you download anything within that email, think of the potential consequences. Also, watch out for Word and Excel documents from unrecognized people. Watch out for unusual phrasing and language which can tip you off that something isn’t kosher. Limit or avoid sending sensitive attachment information via email. The last thing you want is your important information rotting in someone’s possibly unsecured inbox. Lastly, If you can’t recognize the sender, don’t open the email period.
- Installing free software. This is a problem I’ve dealt with constantly since I started my career in IT 17 years ago. No matter how good the IT department is, there always seems to be someway that programs get installed on a Windows based computer. Bad news: usually it’s malware or adware. Make sure everyone in the company understands why they shouldn’t automatically trust to install outside software unless they are confident that it’s reputable. I’d recommend asking for advisement from IT before you install anything on your work or home computer.
- Sharing and reusing passwords. I know… You’d be surprised on how often it happens. I’ve wrote so many IT security incident reports that start with “here, just use my password“. Also, make sure that passwords are unique to the website or provider so the impact can be minimized if leaked.
Have a wonderful 2019. It’s always good to have your bases covered and it’s a pleasure to share my IT insight
-Clay Darland, Chief Tech Guru