IT Security Tips

Security is a crucial aspect to any business and something that you no doubt take very seriously within your own martial arts business. There is an area however that often gets overlooked and is just as important… computer security. In this week’s blog I am going to give you some useful tips on how you can stay secure.

Prevention plan

Prevention-plan

The easiest way to deal with a computer based security issue is to prevent it from happening to begin with. There are several ways in which you can go about this, with some thankfully being more straightforward and easy to implement than you may realise.

It sounds like a given, but ensuring your devices have a password on them can help prevent other people from using them without you knowing. This is especially important if the device you’re using is used for your martial arts business.

A common mistake people often make even when they have a password, is leaving their device unlocked. It’s important to remember to lock your device, and I don’t mean chaining your laptop to the table when I say this either, (although that’s a good way to reduce the chance of it being stolen!) I simply mean returning your laptop to the login screen or pressing the lock button on your smartphone.

Pro tip: On a windows computer, pressing the windows key + L will lock your computer, or the command+shift+eject keys if you’re using a Mac (command+shift+power button for those without a CD drive).
Strong Passwords

password

When it comes to passwords, the idea of having to remember them all gives most of us a headache. The solution that a lot of people use to get around this is using the same password for everything. I can’t stress enough the importance of using a different password for every device and system you use, as this significantly improves your basic security.

Some of the basics to consider when creating passwords are:

  • Use a combination of text, numbers, symbols and capital letters were possible.
  • Have a password of reasonable length (10-12 characters)
  • Don’t use obvious details as your password i.e. dogs name, D.O.B etc.
  • The more random the word, capital letter placement and numbers the better.

Having so many passwords may tempt you to write them down; Don’t do it… resist the urge! If you happen to lose the book you wrote them down in, it can cause serious complications for your day to day operations.

If you do use different passwords for everything but struggle to keep track of them without writing them down, you could consider a password manager. Tools such as lastpass for example, can help to securely store all your current passwords behind one master password, helping to reduce the amount of passwords you need to remember.

Pro tip: Keep your password extra secure by never sharing it with anyone.
Firewalls

firewall

When you connect to the internet, it is a good idea to make sure you have an additional layer of protection. This additional protection is usually in the form of firewall software installed on your computer. A firewall helps to filter out and block anything that could cause an issue or security threat for your computer, that may come from the internet. Most modern devices, especially computers, come with some form of firewall protection already on them. Modern Windows based computers for example, comes with ‘Windows firewall’ already installed by default.

Should you wish to improve your security further, it would be advisable to look for an upgraded firewall software package. As there are so many to choose from, both free and paid for, it’s important to choose one that is suitable for you and your business needs, by reading through the product description to see what benefit it provides for the price.

Pro tip: If you are unsure about the security of something, be it an email or website, then it is best to treat it as suspicious and delete it. 
Cleanup

cleanup

Running a virus scan tool within your installed antivirus software at least once a week is a good way of double checking the security of your system. Most of the time your antivirus software will prevent the majority of ‘threats’ from making it to your system before you even realise. By running your software’s clean up tool you are double checking the security of your system, ensuring that your files and data are still secure from viruses and hackers.

It can often be beneficial to run multiple scans from different software as they may scan things differently. This doesn’t mean you need two antivirus applications, but rather a dedicated scanning software. I personally use Malwarebytes (free version) as an additional layer of security along with Windows Defender (this comes free with modern version of windows), and I run this every other week.

When it comes to running these antivirus packages, it’s best to pick a time when you’re not going to be too busy, as they can often take a bit of time to complete.

Pro tip: Most antivirus software provides you the option of scheduling when you would like to perform a system scan.

If you would like any more tips about computer security or if you have some possible concerns, get in touch with the NEST I.T. team, who will be more than happy to help and advise.

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