online security

Smarter online security starts with these 7 tips

Online security is tricky. At this point, there’s so much going on and so many different types of threats that it’s almost normal to consider true online security a myth.

However, that is far from reality.

Simply put, the smarter you are with how you handle the online world, the easier it will be for you to stay secure online. Here are four must-have tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Related: 4 everyday security tips for business data loss prevention

A little training goes a long way

First things first, you can’t expect to avoid cyber threats if you don’t even know what to look for. And this goes for your entire company.

Anyone with a job, an email address, and access to the internet should be educated on the most common cyber threats — what they are, how they work, how to identify them, and how to avoid them.

Without this education, it’s unrealistic to say that your company has what it takes to remain secure in the digital realm.

And in this particular case, anything helps.

It doesn’t matter if your company decides to bring in an expert for quarterly cybersecurity training or if your co-workers routinely distribute cybersecurity articles and news around the office — a little education will go a long way.

Related: 9 online security tips even your grandma can handle

Become a digital skeptic

You can be whatever you want to be offline, but as soon as you breach that digital border, you need to transform into an unwavering digital skeptic.

Question everything and never assume that something is safe.

Whether it’s an email, ad, or website you visit every day, it’s never okay to assume the content you’re viewing, clicking, or downloading is free of malicious threats. Remain skeptical and you’re much more likely to avoid becoming an online victim.

Do the “typical stuff”

Of course, if you want to stay secure online, then you need to do the “typical stuff.” This means you need to actually use a layered security solution, partner with a managed security provider, and keep your software and browser up-to-date at all times.

Some companies might be lucky enough to get by for a little while without a strong security solution or provider, but that luck won’t last forever. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and SMBs are becoming their primary targets.

So do yourself a favor and find a partner, a real solution, and a solid cybersecurity strategy.

Lock it up tight

It’s easy to feel as if a password doesn’t matter — hackers and malware are so advanced at this point, so what’s a tiny little password going to do?

But that’s the wrong mentality to have.

A password is your first line of defense against hackers and the password-cracking software they use to hijack your accounts. The stronger your password strategy is, the more likely it is that you can outlast the hack (or at least outlast it long enough to change your password).

Embrace password change

Being resistant to change isn’t always a good thing. Especially with your passwords. Instead, embrace change, and update your passwords regularly. It’s the only way to stay ahead of pesky hackers looking to get your good stuff (data).

Experts say it’s best to update your password as often as you change out your toothbrush — once every three months or so.

Related: 6 frightening data backup stats (and how to avoid them)

Stay updated at all times

Do you even update? You should. Many of the program updates you might be avoiding actually contain patches to ongoing or new security threats. If you don’t update, you leave your network exposed to potential vulnerabilities that can lead to all kinds of malware and other unauthorized access.

Get your update on. It’s worth the time. And if it sounds like too much trouble, it might be time to consider the cloud.

Practice selective sharing

Everybody knows that one over-sharer on social media. But the truth is, oversharing is more than just an annoying habit. It can have real consequences to your online security. Things like personal birthdate information, location information, and other details can make it easier for hackers to steal your identity, break into your network, or crack your passwords.

So keep it to yourself whenever possible, okay?

While true online security isn’t a myth, it isn’t exactly something you can achieve once and maintain forever. It requires ongoing management, and without that management, you will eventually succumb to an online threat. Take a look at the 2 reasons your business will never be totally secure to see why.