As we exit a busy holiday season and prepare for the new year, many of us will reflect on the past year and set new goals for the year to come. We are aware that security awareness does not rank high on the list of New Year Resolutions, but here are a few simple ones that we can all incorporate:
- Improve Passwords
- At work, we are required to follow organizational password policies. In our personal lives, no such policies exist, but they should! Make a commitment to ensuring your accounts and devices are all protected by strong, unique passwords. Consider getting a password manager to help, which is software that can create, store, and sync login credentials.
- Implement Multi-factor Authentication
- Even your strongest password wont matter if it gets exposed in a data breach. For that reason, its vital to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever its offered. MFA blocks access to an account until you can provide an additional code, which is usually sent via a secondary communication method or authenticator application.
- Digital Cleansing
- How many applications do you have installed on your smartphone? (Probably several.) When was the last time you double-checked the privacy and security settings of those applications? (Probably never.) Set up monthly calendar reminders to delete any applications you don’t regularly use, and occasionally check privacy and security settings.
- Prioritizing Privacy
- Its no secret that personal data collection is a driving force behind many of the mega social media sites and, well, Google. Take control of your personal privacy by limiting what you share, reducing permissions within applications, and utilizing services that don’t build their business model around collecting information. In short, limit your exposure to entities that collect personal data.
As the year winds down, we would be remised if we did not remind everyone of simple security basics that we can all do to protect ourselves:
- Never Clicking. Always Thinking.
- You won’t get phished if you don’t click. Carefully inspect all message and links. Consider the tone of emails when they appear to come from someone you know. Sound odd or abnormal? Report it!
- Lock it when you leave it
- When you leave your workstation, even if only for a few minutes, lock the workstation. Do the same with all smartphones and tablets. This action is incredibly simple yet incredibly important.
- Policies are for people
- Security policies exist to ensure the security and privacy of everyone, including you. Never circumvent those policies for any reason.
- Keep it clean
- Messy, disorganized workstations could lead to inadvertent security risks, such as losing important documents or badges/keycards.
We want to wish everyone a safe and happy new year!