Like having a good and working backup and restore system, security is often taken lightly until it’s too late. More often than not, we put too much trust on a service or another company’s responsibility to take good care of our security.
Some of us then use really weak passwords like ‘12345’ even in our important day-to-day user credentials such as access to our online banking or work computer.
If you own a small to medium business, you may not have the luxury of having a premium cyber security system locked in place due to the budget. If that’s the case, here are some simple things you can actually do to increase your business security.
 Change your passwords to something harder
If your passwords have always been something that includes “123” or “12345”, it’s time to change them. No, really. These are the words that hackers use initially to brute force their way in, because apparently these are the common passwords that lots of people use around the world.
In most Top 10 Worst Passwords report, you’ll find that these “magic numbers” occur too many times.
You should create a combination of letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric (such as *!?-#) to create stronger passwords that are not easy to break with a simple brute-force attack.
And oh, please don’t have the same password for everything. If someone hacks into one account, it means he or she will have access to everything you have! Do a research on getting a password management tool such as LastPass or 1Password to manage multiple passwords easily and securely.
 Don’t forget to log out or use Private Browsing instead
There are times when you have to use a computer outside of your office. For example, you may be on a holiday and have to send a file, or work from an internet cafe around the block.
After using a public computer (or a friend’s), don’t forget to log everything out – whether it’s your email account or the business application that you are using. Closing a web browser is not good enough because it does not log you out!
If you have a bad habit of just closing the web browser without logging out, consider using the “Private Browsing” (or “Incognito Mode” on Google Chrome). Nothing will be recorded and everything will be cleared when you close the browser.
 Use a VPN when you are connecting to a FREE Wi-Fi Network
There are times when you need to work remotely out of your office, such as during lunch break or in a café somewhere. While you can always turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot of your own, it’s not really recommended if you have to send large documents across to your client (considering the limitation of our mobile data allowance).
Sending large files can be quite costly if you use your mobile data, but there are many FREE Wi-Fi Hotspots around the world that you can hook into and use. When you connect to a FREE Wi-Fi network, make sure to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to secure the wireless transmission while you stay connected. VPN will encrypt your data and make sure no one else in the same public network can snoop in.
There are many good VPN services available and definitely worth investing in if you are always mobile. I myself use Private Internet Access and would totally recommend them.
A simple password guess is all it takes to get access to your important data and accounts. And there are times where you have to trade convenience over security, for the greater good.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra or its staff