bad password example

Nine Ways to Work More Securely

The security of your computer and data are crucial for you and the success of your company. Lost or stolen information can reveal company secrets or expose your confidential or personal information. The more you do to keep your computer secure, the safer your information will be. Use these nine tips to learn ways you can work more securely, help protect your computer, your data, and your company’s network.

1. Use strong passwords.
Passwords provide the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer, and a good password is often underestimated. Weak passwords provide attackers with easy access to your computer and network. Strong passwords are considerably harder to crack, even with the latest password-cracking software.

Helpful tips for creating a strong password:

  • Is at least eight characters long, and ideally 10-12
  • Does not contain your user name, your real name, or your company name
  • Does not contain a complete common dictionary word in the English language
  • Is significantly different from your previous passwords; passwords that change just slightly—such as Password1, Password2, Password3—are not strong
  • Contains characters from each of the following groups:
    • Uppercase and/or lowercase letters
    • Numbers
    • Symbols (!,@,#,$,%, etc.)

2. Don’t enable the Save Password option.
Make it mandatory for you—or anyone else trying to access your computer—to enter your password on all operating system or application settings. If a dialog box prompts you about remembering the password, rather than requiring you to enter it, just choose no. Allowing the password to be saved negates having the password at all.

3. Use network file shares instead of local file shares.
Back up your important information and documents to your network share drive.

4. Lock your computer when you leave your desk.
If you’re going to be away from your desk for a while, make sure your computer is locked.

To lock your computer:

  • On your keyboard, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE at the same time (On Windows 7, Hold the Windows Key and press L).
  • Click Lock this computer (Lock Computer if you’re running Windows XP).
  • To unlock your computer, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE and enter your password.

5. Don’t open suspicious emails.
If an email message just doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. If you don’t know the sender or don’t trust the link or attachment, forward the email to your IT administrator with an explanation of your concerns to verify there are no viruses or malware attached before you open the message or attachment.

6. Carry your laptop with you at all times.
Always take your laptop on the plane or train rather than checking it with your luggage. It’s easy to lose luggage and it’s just as easy to lose your laptop. If you’re traveling by car, keep your laptop out of plain sight from thieves. For example, lock it in the trunk when you’re away from your car and in your bag while you’re driving.

7. Keep your eye on your laptop.
laptop at the airportWhile you’re carrying your laptop with you, it’s important to stay aware. When you go through airport security, don’t lose sight of your bag. Many bags look alike, and yours can easily get misplaced in the screening and security process.

8. Avoid setting your laptop on the floor.
Setting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget or lose track of it as you walk up to a ticket counter or order a latte. If you have to set it down, try to place it between your feet or lean it against your leg, so you’re consciously aware of it.

9. Try not to leave your laptop in your hotel room.
Unfortunately, too many personal items have been lost in or stolen from hotel rooms. If you must leave your laptop in your room, hang the privacy sign on the door knob to keep housekeeping staff out of your room. And definitely do not leave your laptop at the front desk, either.

Do you have additional tips for working more securely? Let us know here on the PGi Blog in the comments below:

free guideWould you like to learn more ways security plays a role in IT beyond the laptop? Download our free security guide specifically for IT managers today!

About Lea G.

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