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4 top IT security tips everyone needs to know

Every year, nearly 180 million confidential records are exposed due to data breaches. That puts the odds of becoming a victim higher than one would like. Experiencing a data breach can cost you a lot of money and stress, not to mention the reputation of your business.

Keeping your data safe is a multi-step process. There are a number of software programs that can help you avoid viruses and malware. Working with an IT cybersecurity expert is another great way to make sure you have as many layers of protection in place as possible.

But the best security system is only as good as the person using it. Here are 4 things you can do to keep your data and networks as safe as possible.

1. Change your passwords

One of the most important things you can do is to practice proper password security management. A big part of this is not to keep one password for all of your accounts. While this practice may make it easier to remember your passwords, it is also dangerous. If just one of your accounts gets compromised, all of your accounts sharing that same password are now at risk.

The key to keeping hackers at bay is to have different passwords for different accounts and change your passwords occasionally. Luckily, there are a variety of online services that can help you develop and even store iron-clad passwords. By doing this, you can keep this information safe and accessible.

2. Protect all devices

The biggest misconception most people have about viruses and malware is that they can affect computers. In reality, these viruses can infect everything from mobile phones to external hard drives. This is why you need to be protecting all of the devices you have connected to the Internet.

Small devices are also more easily lost or stolen. Putting security measures like data encryption and password protection on external hard drives or USB flash drives is a great idea. Doing this can keep the data on them safe if they fall into the wrong hands.

Likewise, make sure your mobile devices are password protected and follow best practices like the tips listed below. You should also make sure your business has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place to protect your network from devices your business is not able to ensure has the right security protocols in place.

Related: What is a BYOD policy and what should it include?

3. Be wary of email attachments

Opening an email from an unknown sender can be extremely dangerous. If the email has an attachment, you want to be especially wary. A good rule of thumb is not to open any attachment you weren’t expecting or don’t know the origins off. Malicious attachments are one of the most common ways for cybercriminals to gain access to your computer or network.

If you are not sure about an attachment, the best thing you can do is just delete it. In some cases, you may want to contact the sender to verify their legitimacy. When it comes to opening these attachments, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

4. Avoid unsecured websites and WiFi networks

Do you travel a lot for work? If so, you will probably find yourself with a variety of options when it comes to networks and WiFi signals. Before connecting your computer or devices to a particular network, make sure it is secure.

If you have to connect to an unsecured network for any reason, avoid transmitting or logging into accounts containing sensitive information. Doing this could lead to your data or account credentials falling into the hands of a cybercriminal.

Following the tips above will go a long way toward keeping your data safe. Contact your managed IT services provider to make sure you’re network is safe and your technology stays healthy.