Home Professionalisms Top 5 Tips To Keep Your Business Information Safe from Hackers

Top 5 Tips To Keep Your Business Information Safe from Hackers


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by Bill Carey, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Siber Systems Inc. 

There’s been a steady drumbeat of news about massive data breaches over the past few years, including well-publicized hacker attacks at Target, Home Depot and Sony Pictures. Recently, the US Office of Personnel Management admitted that more than 21 million people were possibly affected by information stolen from its computer networks, including Social Security numbers and other sensitive data.

And while the largest data breaches make national headlines, companies of all sizes are at risk for hacking attacks. Hackers routinely steal data from small to mid-sized businesses as well as from individual consumers.

So how do you keep your business information safe from hackers? Here are five tips to help you improve your company’s security:

1. Always use strong passwords.

Passwords are the first line of defense for most business networks, but too many managers and employees continue to use easily hackable passwords containing names, birthdays, titles and other information hackers can find online in seconds. Instead, require employees to use passwords that contain both upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. That makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access.

2. Change passwords every 30-60 days and use a different password for each site.

Keeping the same password long-term is dangerous, and using a single password for multiple sites is just asking for trouble: In that scenario, all a hacker would have to do to gain access to sensitive data stored on numerous sites would be to crack a single password. Change passwords at least every 60 days and use a unique one for each secure site.

3. Don’t leave your device unattended while logged in.

Even though logging in typically only takes a few seconds, employees sometimes step away from their computer and leave their browser open to avoid having to log back in to a site. That’s a huge mistake since it only takes seconds for a hacker to steal log-in credentials. Always log out and shut down the browser when leaving a device unattended – even for just a minute or two.

4. Use PINs or passwords on mobile devices.

Today, company owners can operate the entire enterprise from a smartphone or tablet, reviewing attachments, logging into databases and accessing stored documents and cloud-based applications. But many don’t even bother to create a password or use a PIN to protect their mobile device. Make sure you protect your device, and don’t be tempted by password saving options – they make hackers’ work easier.

5. Consider a password manager.

Even people who know how important passwords are in the overall security situation succumb to the temptation to use weak passwords or reuse the same password for multiple sites. Why? Because it’s a hassle to remember multiple passwords. A password manager can create complex passwords for each site and the user only has to remember one master password.

Some entrepreneurs and business owner/operators are convinced that there’s a magic bullet right around the corner that will address network security – retina scanning or another biometric solution to replace passwords, for example. But the reality is that this technology is pricey, and in many cases, it can create as many hassles as it solves because it’s not as flexible as passwords.

For the foreseeable future, passwords will remain the primary line of defense against cyber intruders, so it makes sense for business leaders to focus on password solutions to protect their company data. By following these five tips, you can strengthen your data security today so you won’t fall prey to hackers tomorrow.


Bill Carey

Bill Carey is Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Siber Systems Inc., which offers the top-rated RoboForm Password Managersolution. Find out more about RoboForm at http://www.roboform.com/.