Nagging You About Security? You Bet We Are!

Eat your veggies. Clean your room. Sit up straight. Activate your MFA (multi-factor authentication).

We don’t mean to nag like your parents did when you were a kid, but with three (avoidable) cases of security breaches in our client base in the last two weeks, it is time for a friendly reminder.

Turn on your MFA!

Thinking “It’ll never happen to me” is one of the biggest areas of vulnerability in the IT security world. We’re here to tell you: Think again. Everyone, regardless of their size or type of company, is vulnerable. But there are simple precautions to lower the risk of becoming a victim to cyber attacks, and it is time to implement them.

Why it is important?

Every workday brings millions of cyber attacks across the world. These attackers want access to your data, files, identities, credit card information and more. One of the most common ploys is called phishing, in which the attacker poses as a trusted coworker or friend in order to obtain your username and password. The attacker sends and email from a spoofed name in your organization, asking you to review an attached document or link that brings you to a private drop box. The drop box asks you for your username and password to access the document, you unwittingly comply and the hacker wins.

With your credentials, the hacker can cause greater havoc by sending the same spoofed phishing email from your account and shortly your whole company could be compromised. They could also be sending the spoofed email to your clients which may infect their environment and in turn strain your relationship. Now you are scrambling for answers on how to fix this mess and you just don’t know what to do. That’s when you call Applied Tech.

While our experts can fix the mess, avoiding it all together is the safest, cheapest and easiest way to improve your security. It is time to take these six simple precautions to improve your security:

1. Activate multi-factor authentication: MFA is a layer of security that is simple to deploy and easy to understand for users. When you sign in to your device, the application will send a text to your phone containing a code that will help confirm your identity. You simply check your text messages for your code, type it in, and proceed as normal. It is a quick and simple way to reduce the risk of unwanted access to your organizations data.

2. Set passwords to expire: This is another simple way to protect your data. Across your organization there are probably tens if not hundreds of old, unused devices with current passwords and information. If they fall into the wrong hands — a thief or even disgruntled employee — it could expose information needed to carry out an attack. Setting your passwords to expire every few months makes this a non-issue.

3. Make your password more complex: While changing your password every few months helps, it still doesn’t fully protect you from a cyber attack. If you changed your password from “password123” to “password321” it sure wouldn’t be too hard to figure that out. Make sure each of your passwords is unique and complex to ward off hackers.

4. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts: The simple step of using different passwords can help limit the number of breaches. Also separate personal accounts and work accounts. Your organization may have anti-spam or other tools in place to protect your work email, but the same may not be said for your personal accounts. If you have the same password for both accounts, you could be compromising your organization.

5. Don’t share passwords: No matter how convenient it might be and no matter how much you trust someone, do not share your passwords. If even one person besides you knows your password, it is twice as likely to be compromised. Keep your password to yourself.

6. Stay vigilant: If you think an email looks suspicious, or it is strange that someone in your organization is asking you to click on something that they normally wouldn’t be asking you to, contact Applied Tech. It is better to be safe than sorry, and a 5-minute phone call could save you hours of cleanup and hundreds of dollars in diagnosing and repairing a hack.

If you implement these simple measures in your organization, you have a much lower chance of being the victim a successful cyber attack. If you need help improving your security practices or want to learn how to set up your MFA (included in O365), contact Applied Tech today.

And clean your plate before you leave the table!

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