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Computer security for small businesses at Secure Konnect

Computer security is a critical issue for businesses in 2024 with cyber attacks costing Australian businesses huge sums of money. There are very few computers in use not attached to a network of other computers, either within the same organisation – or nearly always connected to the internet.

The security of your computer or computers and other devices is therefore inherently related to the measures you take to secure it against other computers online and of the awareness of the users of your devices about good practice when accessing the internet.

Secure Konnect computer security experts have worked at the leading edge of the internet revolution and understand the steps needed for the best computer security.

All businesses, organisations can begin with some key steps towards computer security:

Strong passwords / pass phrases

This is a first step in computer security. Secure Konnect regularly see simple passwords being used by senior executives in large companies and small businesses. Typically people use their town of birth with a capital at the front and their date of birth! Another common one is a pets name and a date of birth. Quite obviously these are extremely insecure. Without any IT knowledge anyone could guess these types of passwords with little effort and login to your accounts.

Strong, random passwords are far more secure but less easy to remember. Passphrases are also strong but must be made up of words that have no relation to your personal life. For example, I may think it is secure to choose the following FishingDog24 – but this is made up of two of my interests and the current year – so remains insecure. It would take a hacker with any knowledge less than 10 seconds to crack either of these types of password.

Password security

As well as having strong passwords it is important that they are stored securely. Most users now have large numbers of passwords and it is not possible to remember these or to use the same password for each account. The most secure option is to use a Password manager like Last Pass or Dashlane.

Password manager have two functions. First they store all of your passwords and other sensitive information in one easily accessible secure place. This means no more remembering passwords, or duplicating them. Secondly, password managers generate strong passwords for you meaning that you can simply cut and paste a long, complex, secure password from your password manager app on your phone, or on another device, directly into the login of your accounts.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) or 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)

MFA or 2FA adds an additional layer of security to your accounts. You should enable it in the settings of every account you use. Microsoft have claimed that it prevents up to 99% of data breaches through it’s software. But in cyber security terms this is now relatively old protection. Cyber criminals began to circumvent MFA in 2020 and now routinely do so.

When you configure your MFA it is important to use the most secure methods of secondary verification. Using a mobile number for a text message code is not secure. Instead use an authenticator apps such as Google Authenticator for all your accounts. Google authenticator is an app you can install on your phone and set up individual accounts for your logins. It generates random codes which last a set period of time for you to use to verify your login.

Limit administrator access

One of the most common computer security issue we see from our clients is too many individuals with administrator accounts. Having admin access means the unlimited ability to make changes to the machine and download potentially malicious software. Restricting access to those who need it for their roles is an important step. We can take this a step further by setting up each users device account to access only what they need to for their role. These steps prevent accidental and intention unwanted changes to your computer security.

Use a secure software environment such as MS Office 365 

Using a common, secure software environment for all users on a computer and computer network has significant benefits. It limits the threat environment to that one software eco-system. Typically users like to chop and choose between different software types and environments to meet their multiple requirements at work and for leisure. But allowing software that may not be secure, updated regularly or tested sufficiently from beta is a big risk. This is why many companies now opt to use one business suite or another, placing trust in large corporates with huge cyber security capabilities to stay on top of the threat environment and patch their software as soon as they identify a threat.

Configure automatic updates

In order for any reliance on a software suite as above it is imperative to configure automatic updates. Cyber criminals are continually working to crack software and find a way in. By configuring automatic updates, we can ensure that as soon as our software companies provide a security update, it is downloaded and installed on our machines, keeping us secure. This relates to computer system software as much as to third party software. Automatic updates can usually be configured easily in device and software settings. If there is an update available it is best to let your device install it as soon as possible rather than delay and expose your machine and all machines connected to it to potential vulnerabilities.

Backup your data regularly

For optimum computer security, it is also excellent practice to configure devices to backup data regularly. This means that in the event of an incident you have a backup of all your information and can either reinstall it on the machine that has been attacked after the incident has been fully investigated and recovered, or use the data on another machine. Automatic backups can also be configured easily and there are many third party options so you can backup independently of your machine and network.

Learn how to spot threats

Up to 95 per cent of cyber incidents originated in human error in 2002 according to reports. So it is essential that you and your staff are aware of the cyber risk environment so you can avoid simple mistakes like clicking on phishing links in malicious emails or texts.

Secure Konnect’s award winning cyber security awareness training is bespoke to your business not automated and focuses on the threats most likely to target your unique business environment. Boost computer security at your organisation by making your staff your human firewall.

Know what to do if you experience an incident

Secure Konnect’s Incident Planning and Response make sure that your are fully prepared for a computer security incident and that when it occurs you know exactly what to do as soon as possible. Every minute after an incident is important to mitigate damage.

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