Every member of your team must be responsible for their own digital security and safety. Cyber crimes happen every day. When they are online, team members need to practice the same level of vigilance that they do when they are interacting in the real world. They must be slow to trust new people, and implement security software and other precautions to protect their information.
Digital security and safety requires users to monitor email attachments, use strong passwords, back up files, and update software. Taking these steps will make your team proactive in their digital citizenship and protect their personal information online.
Don’t Trust Anyone You Don’t Know
The Internet is just like any other place. It is possible to meet wonderful people and develop useful contact online. There are, however, many malicious people who are looking for opportunities to steal and exploit personal information. When your team is online, they must not put their trust in anyone they do not know. Internet scammers are professionals, and are very good at manipulating people.
Signs of a scammer:
- You are asked to download something.
- You are given a link to something.
- An offer seems too good to be true.
- You are asked for money.
- You are asked for personal information.
- You are promised money.
Enable 2-Step Verification Processes
Password accounts are commonly hacked, and you do not have to be a computer genius to hack emails. In fact, there are numerous online tutorials on how to hack an email account.
There are precautions that your team can take to limit their risk online. Many email accounts and other sites offer a 2-step verification process. If your team has access to this service, they must use it. The process is simple, and it helps prevent the theft of your passwords. After signing up, you will enter your password, and a verification code will be sent to your phone. You will only be able to access your account after entering the code. It is possible to establish your home computer and request that the code not be needed to log in on it. The code would still be required from other locations, making it difficult for someone else to hack your account.
Public Wi-Fi is great for the person on the go. Your team members must, however, take extra precautions when using public Wi-Fi. This type of connection does not have the same security that a personal Internet account does because there are numerous users. When your team uses public Wi-Fi, they must avoid accessing sensitive information, like their bank account.
With the popularity of laptops and smartphones, it is often possible to avoid using public computers. There may be times, however, when team members find themselves using public computers. There are a few tips to help your team keep their information secure:
- Do not save login information: Always choose the option not to save your login name or password, and make sure that you log out when done.
- Erase your history: Disable settings that save passwords and delete your Internet history when done.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Do not leave the computer unattended, and keep an eye out for people watching your screen.
- Mind what you do: Never enter personal or sensitive information, like credit card info, on a public computer.
Email and Attachments
We use email for work and personal reasons every day. Emails and their attachments, however, are regularly used to hack computers. Just because you receive an email from someone you know, does not mean that the email is safe. Once an account is hacked, it is used to send messages to the contact list. If any of your team members receive an email that seems odd, they must contact the sender before clicking on any links or opening any attachments.
Once you download an attachment, the damage is done. Before downloading or clicking on anything, they can hover over the link and check to see that the link they see and the link they are being directed to match. They should never click a link or download an attachment unless they are sure that they are safe. If they accidentally click something, they must run a virus scan, preferably in Safe Mode.
Hacking often occurs because people choose the wrong passwords. Using the same password for everything, using easy passwords, and keeping the same passwords for years will put your account at risk. There are a few key points to choosing strong passwords. Typically an eight character password minimum with ten characters a normal recommendation. They must include:
- Uppercase letters
- Lowercase letters
Back Up Your Files
It is essential for your team members to back up their files regularly. You never know when a computer will crash, or if your computer will be stolen. Backing up files protects their information. How often they back up your files will depend on how regularly you use their computer. Files should be backed up daily, weekly, or monthly. There are different backups.
- Full back up – This type of backup takes the most time and storage space. It is the fastest to restore.
- Incremental backup – These backups changes made after the latest backup. It is faster to backup, but it takes longer to restore.
- Differential backup – The backup occurs after the latest full backup. It does not take long to backup, and it restores slower than full and incremental backup.
- Mirror – Files deleted in the computer are also deleted on the backup.
- Local – Backups in the same building such as external hard drives, etc.
- Online – It is possible to backup files online. It is safe in the case of natural disasters but it is slow to restore.
Update Your Software
It is important for your team to update their software regularly. Software companies frequently update their programs to fix bugs and address security threats. If your team members do not update their software regularly, they risk their programs running slower than normal and contracting malware and viruses. They should check for updates regularly. A good rule of thumb is to check for updates every time that they turn on your computer for the day. This way, they will have any updates completed before they begin their work.