2016 is history and 2017 is a mystery.
The New Year carries the promise of infinite potential. Yet again, individuals are engaging in the common practice of resolution-making. But the percentage of people who see these resolutions through to conclusion is shockingly low.
How low? Only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
Of course you’re familiar with many of the most popular resolutions: lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, travel more, fall in love, and spend more time with family. These are a handful of the most popular — and most commonly broken — resolutions. So, why don’t 92% of people succeed?
Because these resolutions are not SMART. The SMART acronym is a goal-setting model that encourages goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-sensitive.
Specific: is my goal well-defined?
Measurable: how will I be able to track completion of my goal?
Achievable: can I realistically accomplish my goal with my current resources, time, and knowledge?
Relevant: does this goal make sense for my current personal or professional progress?
Time-sensitive: am I giving myself enough time or motivating myself with time constraints?
People fail because their resolutions are too bold, too broad, or immeasurable. They tried to tackle too much in a short period of time or gave themselves too much time and eventually lost motivation.
The proliferation of technology has made time more precious than ever. Our lives move faster, so we need to accomplish more in a shorter period of time. We’d like to offer 7 security resolutions that you should make — and achieve — in 2017.
1. Reinforce Your Passwords
- Your passwords are likely the first line of defense protecting your personal data, devices, and accounts. The first step is to strengthen them. This can be done by changing them frequently and making them complex, using a variety of letters, cases, numbers, and special characters.
- Now you have so many different passwords, it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Consider a password manager. This tool will store all your passwords and generate strong news ones, securely.
2. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
- Two-Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is an extra layer of security that requires login information (personal; that only you would know) in addition to a username, email address, and password.
- For example, when you log in to your bank account from an unrecognized device and you are asked a security questions such as, “What street did you grow up on?” or “What is your father’s middle name?” This is Two-Factor Authentication. There’s an extra layer of protection in case a cybercriminal is able to crack your username and password. Hackers can be halted by information that only you would know.
3. Backup Your Devices
- If you haven’t done this already, shame on you! You could lose everything at any moment on account of accidental deletion, natural disaster, or a cyberattack.
- Backup all your data — both offline and cloud stored — on a regular, scheduled basis. Security professionals recommend biweekly or weekly backups. You can migrate all of your data to the cloud. However, recognize that the cloud can be compromised. It’s best to also secure your files and sensitive information on an external hard drive in a secure location (such as a fireproof safe).
4. Set Up a VPN
- VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. While many companies use it to securely connect employees working remotely to company servers, it is useful in other ways, too. A VPN can be used to access your home network while traveling, connect multiple networks, encrypt your network while using unsecure public Wi-Fi, and circumvent regional network restrictions. In all of these cases, a VPN will create a secure network.
5. Recognize the Real Threat: Ransomware
- Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that once installed, locks and encrypts a user’s files until that user pays a ransom to recover and decrypt the files. The ransom is often paid in internet currency known at ‘bitcoin’.
6. Enhance Email Security
- You likely spend a significant chunk of your day reading and responding to emails. Hackers know how closely individuals are tied to both personal and professional email accounts and use this mechanism to target new victims. Practice email safety:
- Don’t open emails from unknown contacts.
- Do not include sensitive information in emails (i.e. passwords, bank account information, or Social Security numbers).
- Don’t open attachments, unless the sender is trusted and the attachment is expected.
- Do not open, reply to, or click on links for emails in your Spam folder.
- Use a Spam filter.
- Keep your antivirus software up-to-date.
- If you’re checking your email on a public computer or network, don’t forget to log out!
- Don’t freely give out your email address.
- These email security tips can also be applied to basic internet safety.
7. Beware! Be Aware.
- The best protection is prevention. By practicing awareness and exercising preventative maintenance, you reduce the likelihood that you will be the victim of a cyber attack. Make sure to stay current on technology trends, keep software up-to-date, and make an effort to understand cybersecurity risks.
In 2017, get SMART about your goals and be smarter about cybersecurity!
Category: events, data loss prevention
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