It’s always important to develop and maintain healthy habits, regardless of your age or the circumstances you live in. Eating protein-rich foods, regularly exercising, and routinely cleaning and organizing one’s home is among the positive habits that you may likely hear people cite the most. However, there is another type of habit that will significantly protect you from risks and ultimately save you much anxiety and frustration: digital hygiene.
Digital hygiene is a phrase used to refer to the practice of cleaning up your electronic/information assets and regularly updating them. This process includes knowing how to choose your passwords, organizing files on your laptop, and adjusting the settings on your email and social media accounts, all as part of an effort to ensure greater security. Here are four essential digital hygiene tips to follow.
Using Secure Passwords
A strong and unique password can make a significant difference in terms of preventing a future hack (or other cyberattacks). A password is typically considered “strong” if it is long (at least 8 characters) and contains a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Many websites will often list a series of requirements and suggestions for strong passwords on their page for creating an account.
You should also avoid reusing old passwords and creating new passwords that are too similar to those old passwords. Additionally, eliminate mandatory password resets, as research has shown that they do not substantially improve security. In fact, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines recommend users to NOT use password resets.
Protect Computers And Networks From Malware
Malware refers to software that is specifically intended to damage or access a computer network or system without authorization. These types of attacks remain extremely common. According to a 2020 report from Verizon, 28% of data breaches in the first half of 2019 involved malware. Additionally, digital news website CSO recently estimated that 94% of malware is delivered via email.
In order to protect your networks and computers from malware, there are multiple precautions you can take, including:
- Using antivirus software (which is often free)
- Keeping existing software up-to-date
- Using firewalls
- Utilizing pop-up blockers
- Minimizing downloads (and ensuring your browser security settings are sufficiently high to identify unauthorized downloads).
Keeping Operating Systems Up-to-Date
An updated operating system will not only help prevent cyberattacks. It can also lead to enhanced capability, which means that you can carry out many tasks more efficiently. As a general rule, the longer a test system is permitted to remain on old (especially near-obsolete) platforms, the more this obsolescence poses a risk to the system’s capacity to stay online and well-supported. The new rules and requirements that typically accompany new OS versions may initially appear cumbersome, but they will ultimately help your devices run more smoothly. Do not underestimate their importance.
Ordered Inboxes, Files, And Folder Trees
A large part of organizing your inbox involves unsubscribing from emails you are no longer interested in receiving: newsletters, emails offering cheap flight deals, etc. Also, be sure to routinely check your spam folder and delete unwanted emails on there as well.
Another action you can take with regard to your email that can greatly help with your organization is to categorize emails. For example, all emails that relate to your account’s security can all be placed in one “bucket.” This will help you more easily find important emails in the future.
Other digital hygiene precautions you can take include activating multi-factor authentication and reviewing the security and privacy settings on your social media accounts. Taking all these steps will ultimately help you and your devices remain more secure and thus save you the unnecessary stress of solving operational issues or combating cyberattacks.
Talk To SeaGlass About Your IT Security
Speak to the experts at SeaGlass Technology in New York for more information about the importance of establishing good digital hygiene practices. We are a company dedicated to providing clients with efficient and innovative IT solutions that are customized to meet their unique needs. SeaGlass’s IT security services include network monitoring and security assessments, penetration testing, and preventing potential breaches via our security operations center (SOC).
We are committed to helping you (and your organization, if applicable) fully understand all the different types of security threats you may face and how you can protect yourself against these risks. We have experience assisting companies of all sizes and will always go the extra mile to ensure you will be prepared if disaster strikes.