Whether you work from home or in an office, it’s important to keep your networks secure.
While we always recommend keeping your business devices separate from personal use, data still manages to cross paths. For instance, you may have a work computer, but still have your work email on your personal smartphone. Situations like this are common enough to not think much of it. But in reality, you’re putting yourself and your employees at risk. This is because a lack of network security in either device could lead to a data breach for all involved.
Hackers’ motivations are endless. They could be in it for financial gain, espionage, vandalism, or just gaining notoriety in the hackersphere. Trying to understand the reasoning behind hacking is pointless because it all brings destruction at the end of the day. What’s important is to know how to protect your data by securing your office network.
Protect Your Data & Secure Your Home And Office Networks With These 6 Tips
Without defensive measures in place, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to hackers all over the world. You may hear in the news phrases like ransomware, phishing, spyware, scareware, and more. At the end of the day, they are all forms of cybercrime.
To keep your business, your life, and the lives of your employees safe, make sure you are taking the right steps to secure your networks.
1. Make Sure Your Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, and Firewall Softwares Are Updated
Firewalls are the first line of defense. Computers’ operating systems come with a built-in firewall. So updating your operating system is critical to your firewall functioning at its full potential.
Antivirus software detects virus threats in real-time. Without this software, viruses could easily cause irreparable damage to your operating system.
Spyware is exactly what it sounds like, software used for espionage. Hackers use spyware to track Internet usage and collect data about you and other users. This data could be used to wipe out your finances, data mining, creating fake accounts with your name, and more.
These types of software are your defenses against viruses, spyware, hackers, and more. However, they require updating to be able to do their job. This is because hackers are coming up with new ploys daily. Your software learns of this new information to look out for through updates.
2. Keep Your Kids & Spouse Off Your Work Devices
We get it! And honestly, we are guilty of asking to use our parents’ devices when we were kids. And now we understand they weren’t hoarding their devices. Rather, they were maintaining critical protocol to protect their business and our family.
But even if it’s something as innocent as your child wanting to watch just one Netflix show or your spouse placing an Amazon order, it’s not worth it. Once you allow these “one-off” uses of your devices, they typically become more frequent. And with each use, your entire company’s network security becomes more at risk.
With more people using a device, hackers have more routes to access your data. One wrong click and you could download a virus or spyware. And with hackers these days, that could easily spin into a ransomware situation. Best practices include maintaining your work computer for your work only.
3. Don’t Give Anyone Your WiFi Password
This one can be tricky. After all, everyone wants the WiFi password if for nothing else to avoid using up their data. However, it’s important to remember that no matter how much you trust someone, you cannot control their online activity.
But there are options. Many routers offer the option to provide a guest network. This is a perfect solution if you have a weekly babysitter who must be connected at all times. They have access and your data remains secure.
If, for any reason, your WiFi password is shared, then make sure to change it right away. It’s critical to remind employees frequently that they are responsible for maintaining their home network and devices.
Are your home and office networks secure? Unless you have a professional IT expert, the answer is, unfortunately, no. Don’t let yourself be hacker bait. Contact Brooks IT Services and find confidence in real network security.
4. Always Use Unique & Complex Passwords
Stop. Reusing. Passwords.
The most critical part of maintaining online security directly correlates with the strength of your passwords. If your password is ever compromised, then a hacker will use it to attempt to log in to all of your accounts. Whichever accounts have a recycled password in use are also now compromised.
Furthermore, your passwords need to be complex enough that they are hard to guess. Hackers have a wide range of tools they use to quickly and easily break passwords that are short and easy. Avoid including any personal information such as birthdays, addresses, pet names, or anything associated with you or anyone you know. Hackers can find all this information online. Don’t make it easy for them.
To keep your data secure, passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Here’s an example of a unique password: bR00kZ1t. But of course, we would never use a password that resembles the name of our company!
5. Utilize End-To-End Encryption
To add an additional layer of network security, utilize end-to-end encryption. Using this safety measure creates a secure line of communication by blocking third-party users from gaining access to data in transit.
End-to-end encryption works by first encrypting data then converting it into a secret code. Only the sender and intended recipient have the key to decrypt the data. Otherwise, it is hidden.
Even if a hacker gains access to your data, all they’ll have is a code with no key to unlock. While this is critical for sensitive data, it is also useful for everyday conversations. After all, you don’t want someone lurking in your DMs.
If you have sensitive data and communications, then you need Brooks IT Services. Contact us today to get started improving your network security.
6. Backup Data Regularly
If your system is compromised, there are several steps you can take. Call your bank, cancel credit cards, change your passwords, etc.
However, you don’t want to risk losing all your data in a vicious breach. If you have already backed up your files, then that won’t be an issue.
You may have seen talk of ransomware in the news lately. Basically, hackers take your data hostage and demand payment in untraceable cryptocurrencies. We do not advise ever negotiating with a ransomware attack. There is no telling if they have the data, if they’ll return it, or if they’ll delete it afterward.
But it’s important to note that the hackers behind ransomware attacks have no leg to stand on anyways if your data is backed up.
Secure Your Network & Data With BITS
Network security is no joke. If you’re not taking serious precautions, then you are at risk of a data breach.
Brooks IT Services is the only Houston provider that prioritizes helping business owners stay on budget while making sure their data and networks are secure. Don’t keep going through your days on a wing and a prayer. Instead, get real protection. Contact Brooks IT Services to level up your network security today.