4 security resolutions for the New Year

This is the time when we try to break bad habits and form good ones. During 2016, in addition to losing a few pounds and watching the budget, how about adding some security resolutions? They could save not only your personal information, but your company’s proprietary data as well.

Resolve to keep your data and your personal devices safe by following these tips

1.  Create strong passwords for your personal online accounts: If you have been coasting along with the same old passwords, now’s the time to upgrade. Create passwords that are at least 12 characters long and use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t write down these passwords, and never share them with anybody.

Tip: Use a password manager to create random unique passwords that are saved in a secure vault on your home machine. There are several password managers you can use to keep yourself safe. Just do a quick search online and pick one that meets your needs (some are free and some charge a monthly/annual fee).

2.  Sift through your personal social-media accounts: Are you guilty of oversharing? Could a hacker, social engineer or spy (including one working for your employer’s competitor) use your Facebook or Instagram profile to guess your passwords, or perhaps the answers to your secret questions? Your date of birth, pets’ or kids’ names, alma mater, and favorite hobbies may all be used against you if you’re not wary.

Tip: Think twice before posting sensitive information to social-media accounts. Always ask yourself: ‘Would I want everyone in the world to know this about me?’

3.  Perform some device hygiene: Your computers, tablets, and phones should all be protected by anti-virus software. And speaking of software, yours should be up to date with the latest security patches. This is also a great time to run a malware scan just to be safe, and—if you’re feeling ambitious—to defrag your hard drive and uninstall “bloatware” to keep your PC fast and secure.

Tip: Most computers can be setup to download updates automatically, making it even easier to stay secure. Don’t forget to update all the software on your mobile devices and wireless routers too!

Last but not least, resolve to keep your company’s data safe

4.  Obey all workplace policies: Your company has rules about what data may leave the building, and what devices may be used to access the corporate network. As the new year dawns, learn and follow these rules to keep your company data as secure as possible.

Tip: Staying safe at work not only helps to protect you and your other employees, but your customers and their data as well. You should treat all sensitive data as if it were your own.

 

© 2016 The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This article is for informational purposes only.

Steven McWilliams

Steve is the Information Security Officer for HSB. He has over 18 years of experience in various technology areas including: Information Security, Network Infrastructure, Network Operations and Software Development. Keeping information safe and secure has always been at the forefront of everything he’s done throughout his career in Information Technology

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