The “8 great” IT security best practices

The “8 Great” IT Security Best PracticesWith Halloween upon us, it’s a good time to protect against ghosts in the machines. Here are some helpful reminders from IT to keep your data and devices secure.

Use passwords that can’t be easily guessed, and protect your passwords.
Think more in terms of pass-phrases, rather than random strings of characters.  A password like “My Dog is Kibbles!” isn’t significantly longer than the minimum length, but is significantly easier to remember and almost impossible to “hack”.

Minimize storage of sensitive information.
If you don’t need to store it, don’t.  If you do, make sure you store on a network location where it will get backed up.

Beware of scams.
If you’re not expecting a call from IT to talk about your computer, don’t believe people who call claiming to be from IT.  Legitimate IT Support will never ask for your password. Even if they insist, don’t disclose your password to anyone.

Protect information when using the Internet and email.
Always use the “[encrypt]” or “[secure]” subject line tags for sensitive emails.

Don’t turn off your computer overnight.
We all love the environment, but modern computers do a good job of minimizing their power usage when they’re not being actively used.  IT (and automated security programs) would prefer do maintenance and reboot your machine overnight.  This will also help to minimize the impact to your daily routine.

Secure laptop computers and mobile devices at all times: Lock them up or carry them with you.
Getting a device stolen isn’t fun for anybody.

Lock your computer when you walk away or leave it unattended.
It only takes a few seconds for a malicious person to steal your files or cause problems if they have physical access to your system.

Secure your area before leaving it unattended.
Paper-based medical records and other sensitive information is an easy target for anybody who walks by.