Simplifying Security: 6 Easy Steps to Keep your Information Safe
Today, we store an incredible amount of sensitive information online, including financial data, personal information, and more. It’s essential that we take steps to protect that data, but it’s easy get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fearmongering information and ignore or down right forget to take basic security measures.
This leaves countless individuals and organizations more susceptible to cyberattacks. In this blog, we’re simplifying security measures for overwhelmed or forgetful users to help take the power back into their own hands in keeping their data and email secure.
Creating Passwords: Strong but Memorable
One of the easiest ways to protect your data is to use strong passwords. A strong password should be at least 8 characters long, include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Try not to use easily guessable passwords, such as “password1” or “123456,” and although its hard, avoid using the same password across multiple accounts.
If you’re more prone to using simple or repeated passwords, and have trouble remembering stronger passwords, consider using a password manager. These tools securely store your passwords and can automatically fill them in for you when you log in to your accounts.
The Power of Password Managers
Simplifying security doesn’t necessarily mean simplifying your passwords. In fact, one of the biggest risks to your data is using weak passwords. Weak passwords can be easily cracked by hackers, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft, financial loss, and more. However, it can be hard to remember complex passwords for every account, especially if you have many different accounts. This is what makes password managers such spectacular tools.
Password managers store all of your passwords securely, so you can secure your data with unique, strong passwords without having to remember each and every one. They work by creating complex, random passwords for your accounts and storing them in an encrypted database. All you need is one strong master password to access your password manager.
There are many different password managers available, and some are even free. It is important to choose a reputable password manager and use a strong, unique master password to protect your data.
To further your data protection and streamline your security, utilizing a standalone application such as Microsoft Authenticator can bridge your password management while also providing two-step authentication to give your security an extra boost — without having to do extra work.
Two-factor Authentication: Annoying, but so Important
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to enter a code in addition to your password to log in to your accounts. This code is typically sent to your phone or email.
You can set up 2FA through online services, such as social media platforms, email providers, and financial institutions. Unfortunately, many users opt-out of two-factor authentication due to the inconvenience of it. However, these set-ups can significantly increase the safety of your and/or your organizations data.
Thankfully applications like Microsoft Authenticator have streamlined this process so that you can bridge your password management, easily register 2FA to your devices, and keep your data safe with built in safety tools like one-time passcodes and push notifications.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
Keeping your software up to date is important because updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. It can be easy to forget to update your software, especially if you have many different programs on your computer or device.
This is why it’s a good idea to set up automatic updates if possible. Most software programs, including operating systems, web browsers, and antivirus programs, have automatic update options. To enable automatic updates, go to your settings or preferences and look for an option to turn them on.
If this isn’t an option for you, we suggest setting up monthly notifications on your calendar or even creating something as simple as a sticky note reminder so that you continuously check-in with your system’s updates.
Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, which makes it easy for hackers to intercept data. If you need to use public Wi-Fi, avoid accessing sensitive information like bank accounts or social media accounts. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your data and protect your privacy.
Using a VPN
A VPN is a tool that encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a secure server. This makes it harder for hackers to intercept your data and steal your information.
Even though it may seem like an excessive step, the theme of today’s blog is that anything that seems excessive, is probably a greatly beneficial if not necessary step. This is especially true for those who enjoy working remotely from coffee shops or restaurants.
There are many different VPN services available, so be sure you pick the best one to meet your needs. For businesses or remote workers, we recommend Microsoft’s Azure VPN.
Microsoft Azure VPN is a virtual private network (VPN) solution that enables secure remote access to Azure resources. With Azure VPN, users can connect to virtual machines, cloud services, and other Azure resources securely from anywhere.
Forgetting passwords and losing data can be an incredibly frustrating experience. To prevent data loss, be sure to backup your data regularly. This can be done automatically by using a cloud backup service or an external hard drive.
Cloud backup services automatically backup your data to the cloud, so you can. access it from anywhere and on any device. External hard drives are physical devices that you can connect to your computer or device and use to backup your data manually.
Similarly, to our point about system updates, if you’re unable to automate your backup process for whatever reason, be sure to set reminders for yourself. It is important to backup your data regularly to prevent data loss in case of a hardware failure, theft, or other disaster.
If you are a current Microsoft user, or are considering switching, be sure to take advantage of Azure Backup. For companies especially this is a cost-effective, secure, one-click backup solution that’s scalable based on your backup storage needs.
Stay in the Know
The more you know about data security, the better you will be at protecting your data. Take the time to educate yourself on best practices for data security and stay in the loop on new types of attacks and technology. A great way to motivate yourself to do this is to get creative about the way you think of data protection.
Although it can feel like an abstract topic, once you become more familiar with how security and data protection works, you’ll be surprised to learn just how fascinating our current ever-changing climate is.
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