Security – three simple steps

Security: complex technical issue or good habits?

Security – online, in the office, out and about – is a major worry for most companies. SMEs in particular can present a tempting opportunity for the bad guys (here’s an article we wrote about that a while ago). Obviously security is both a complex technical issue and a matter of best practice, but the good news is there’s plenty you can do for yourself to improve your computing security.

We’re giving a talk on security to the Inspire business group on Wednesday 13th May.  Ahead of that talk we’re presenting three simple security measures you can act on today. They’re free and require no technical expertise whatsoever, but are more about developing good habits.

Log out of services to increase security

Log in – log out. Simples.

Log out and step away
Do you routinely leave services logged-in? Logging out of online services in particular when you’ve finished with them will minimise your exposure. Log out of LinkedIn, webmail (eg Hotmail, Yahoo and any other email account that you access through a browser), Twitter, Facebook etc when you aren’t using them. Tread with care as some accounts need to be logged in to provide background functions, but get into the habit of logging out of anything that you just don’t need running in the background.

Turn off wifi
Your smartphone leaks data constantly when you’re out and about (that’s a whole other blog post). If you’d rather preserve a modicum of privacy and don’t particularly need constant updates on the journey home, in the supermarket or in the playground, get into the habit of flicking off wifi when you travel. For greater privacy activate airplane mode, but do that only if you’re sure you can go incommunicado without causing a furore.

Don’t re-use passwords
So obvious, isn’t it? But a lot of people do it and massively jeopardise their security. Think of the logic: if a cracker gains access to your Facebook account, they’re going to run the same password through your banking access, your email and any other accounts they can find. Don’t hand it to them on a plate.

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