How secure is it? Will anybody be able to get at my data? You would be surprised how many times I have heard these words over the last couple of years. I am finding people (and businesses) are beginning to think seriously about what might happen if they get hacked or someone gets full access to their data. Chances are most businesses will never get hit (aren’t statistics great!!) but more and more people are thinking about the consequences of it happening.
One problem though. Security starts with getting the basics right and most people simply don’t. Lets take a look at some of the basics.
1. Use them!!
2. Don’t use easy passwords that people are likely to guess (eg Password123 is not very secure)
3. Store them in a safe place
4. Don’t give people login details to your accounts
OK number 1 should be obvious. Over the last two weeks alone I have seen 5 systems with absolutely no passwords to login. If the system gets stolen then all the thief needs to do is switch it on to gain access to all your documents.
If you do have a password then make sure it is not an easy one to guess. Pets, children’s names, birthdays etc are all no go areas and whatever you do don’t use the same one for all your accounts.
Where should you store them? A lot of people have a “bible” with all their passwords in which is stored in a safe place. This is a good idea and much better than notes around the desk. Better still is using an online password manager like Lastpass which allow you to access all your passwords from anywhere.
Lastly don’t give people login details for your accounts. You share files not accounts!!
Giving people access to your documents
1. Only give people the access they need and no more
The less access people have to your files the better. I know of a woman who gave a client full access to her Dropbox account which included personal pictures. I know of a business who worked closely with another firm and decided to join their Office 365 account not realising that both firms now had access to their client files and emails.
Of course we all have to share files. A traditional server can be set up to only give people access to what they need and NOT WHAT THEY WANT. Cloud based services like OneDrive and Dropbox allow you to share individual folders which means you don’t have to give people the login details for the account.
Working while out and about
More and more of us are doing this and this brings with it it’s own set of challenges. Be very careful what you decide to do using free wifi as these are very inscure. For example I would always advise people never do your internet banking on free wifi. Then there is the problem of securing the devices themselves. All smartphones and tablets should have a pin set whilst all laptops should ideally have encryption. Some apps like Dropbox allow you to set a pin on the individual app itself which adds another layer if security.
This is only a quick overview of some of the basic security considerations you should look at. It is not meant to be a HOW TO guide as there are already loads of those on the internet.
Comments are welcome as always!!
About the Author
Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.
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