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Building a Digital Fortress: Essential Cyber Hygiene Practices

Posted: May 2024

Just like personal hygiene keeps us healthy, cyber hygiene is essential for safeguarding our digital lives. In today’s interconnected world, where we constantly access information and conduct business online, strong cyber hygiene practices are more important than ever. Here are some of the key practices that Bridgehead IT advises individuals and organizations can adopt to build a robust defense against evolving cyber threats.

Securing Your Connection: The Power of VPNs

Public Wi-Fi networks, while convenient, can be breeding grounds for cyberattacks. When using public Wi-Fi, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, creating a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. This encryption makes it virtually impossible for hackers to eavesdrop on your online activity or steal your sensitive information.

Bridgehead IT recommends caution, especially on unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks. If you notice suspicious activity at a coffee shop or other public place that puts your device at risk, ensure you’re not inadvertently connected to the public Wi-Fi and/or sharing your device data. Alternatively, using the mobile hotspot feature on your personal protected devices can be a good way to avoid needing to connect to a potentially unsafe network.

Business man with phone, airport window and plane taking off, checking flight schedule terminal for business trip. Technology, travel and businessman reading international travel restrictions app online.

Lock it Down: Protecting Company Devices

Company laptops and desktops often contain a wealth of sensitive data. If your business does not have a policy for cyber hygiene, device safety practices, or guidelines for device usage, Bridgehead IT strongly recommends you implement one. A well-defined policy can help protect your organization from costly data breaches and ensure employee awareness of best practices.

Here are a few steps to ensure company devices are secure:

  • Enforce strong password policies: Insist on employees creating complex passwords and changing them regularly. Bridgehead IT can assist your organization in establishing strong password requirements and enforcing best practices.
  • Enable automatic screen locking: Set company computers or phones to automatically lock after a period of inactivity. This helps prevent unauthorized access if a device is left unattended or lost.
  • Implement full-disk encryption: Encrypting the entire hard drive of a device renders the data unreadable if stolen. Bridgehead IT offers data encryption solutions to safeguard your company’s sensitive information.
  • Report compromised devices immediately: If you suspect a device has been compromised due to a phishing attempt, malware infection, or unauthorized access, report it immediately through trusted communication channels to your IT department or Bridgehead IT, depending on your organization’s protocol. Early reporting allows IT professionals to take steps to mitigate the damage and prevent further breaches.

Be Prepared: Responding to Lost or Stolen Devices

Losing a device can be stressful, but taking swift action can minimize the damage.
Here’s what to do:

  • Report the loss or theft immediately: Inform your IT department or supervisor as soon as possible. They can take steps to disable the device remotely and prevent unauthorized access. Bridgehead IT can also assist your organization in establishing a response plan for lost or stolen devices.
  • Change your passwords: Update your passwords for all accounts you accessed from the lost device, especially work accounts and financial applications.
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Cyber Hygiene: A Shared Responsibility

Cybersecurity is a collaborative effort. Organizations should provide employees with regular training on cyber hygiene best practices. Bridgehead IT offers comprehensive cybersecurity training programs to educate employees on cybersecurity threats and best practices to protect themselves and company data. Employees, in turn, should be vigilant about potential threats and report any suspicious activity to the IT department.

By adopting these practices, individuals and organizations can significantly reduce their risk of cyberattacks and protect their valuable data. Remember, cyber hygiene is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. By making it a habit, we can all build a more secure digital future.

For more information on the importance of cyber hygiene practices, check out this recent article by CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) where they brief a travel organization on security best practices: CISA Briefs World Travel Organization Expedia with Advice on Security

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