Even for the most security-conscious amongst us, 2017 was a wake-up call. The wave of ransomware and hacks exposed weaknesses and elevated the issue IT security into boardrooms. This elevation in importance was welcomed by IT departments. The subject of how to protect organisations, and who is liable for breaches, belongs very much at the top of the management tree. It also however, belongs with the individual – and it is up to IT professionals to lead the way.
Security Doesn’t Have to be Hard
After spending work days dealing with the rigours of providing IT to the business, the last thing you are likely to feel like doing when you get home is dealing with the rigours of your personal IT security. Given that most employees now login from home on their own devices, though, there is potential for trouble.
We all hope that our neighbours aren’t getting overly close in the online sense, but weak Wi-Fi security isn’t rare. Employing some of the good habits you use in the workplace keeps your own personal data safer – and reduces risk to your business.
Authentication and Passwords
Using two factor authentication (2FA) is getting easier. Most web mail, social media companies and banks offer 2FA when you log in, usually by sending a code to your smartphone. Some banks offer a higher level of 2FA in the form of SecurID tokens.
SplashData’s annual list of worst passwords shows the same offenders year after year. The most commonly hacked include 123456, password, qwerty and starwars. Of course, nobody working in IT would be so naïve as to use these passwords, but it is a good reminder to mix things up. We’re preaching to the choir here but, longer passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and symbols, changed often is the recommendation.
We’ve seen business IT environments compromised by people logging in from home environments that use the default router password for their Wi-Fi. These days unauthorised access is less likely to be about getting free internet access, it is about stealing your data.
The new Notifiable Data Breach regulations in Australia have us focused on data protection practices at work, yet these practices can go out of the window at home. Protecting your own information can save you from a world of pain; review how you store your own information, and how you share it.
Don’t email sensitive data like credit card information or date of birth. Don’t share private information on social media, no matter how tempting, and be mindful of shared posts that gather information under the guise of fun. Equally importantly, educate your children – if they are old enough to be using devices, they are old enough to learn safe practices. Establishing good online habits and critical thinking will protect them into the future.
Updates and Patches
According to NBNCo, the average Australian home has 13.7 connected devices, and by 2021, this is on track to reach 30. That’s a lot of patching. With this many to manage, it may be worth keeping a master list of devices, and tracking updates. Missing your teen’s tablet may create havoc if they visit the wrong gaming site, but this is avoidable. Changing the Wi-Fi password can be a great motivating force in this situation!
Strong Security Starts with People
Those who employ strong IT security at home are likely to bring good habits into the workplace. These are the people who will notice when something isn’t right, alert you to possible breaches, and look for ways to tighten up processes. Helping your colleagues to get a security mindset for their personal environments will give you frontline allies who will help keep your business safe.
Time to improve your security profile? Talk to the Somerville security experts.