10 tips on how to improve your cyber security and password management skills

By Optimising IT

One of the downfalls of the advances in technology is the advancements in hacking. It is easier than ever for hackers to access your private information remotely. It does not help that nowadays, everything requires a login – from apps for shopping to gaming and even online banking. The multitude of accounts the average person has today has led to cyber security complications. For example, poor password management skills results in easier to use phrases you will remember and reuse.

Many people in the UK follow poor password management skills, such as using the same password for multiple accounts, changing only a few characters when updating passwords, and using easy-to-remember passwords. These are some of the most common mistakes that make stealing your information very easy. 

It is easy to slack off when it comes to protecting data that is not your private information, but in some cases, this is the most critical data to keep safe from hackers. For those working for companies that deal with individuals’ insurance, banking, or credit data, cyber security compliance is imperative. 

Failure to use a secure password can lead to the exposure of millions of people’s important data, which can cost you your job and your employer’s company millions of dollars in legal fees and fines. Because of its importance, training where employees learn how to protect online information is available from trusted experts through cybersecurity service providers.

CYBER SECURITY: WHAT IS PASSWORD MANAGEMENT?

There is plenty of technical jargon that individuals can get lost in when it comes to talking about cybersecurity. So what is password management? It is the safe practice one follows when creating and storing account passwords. While seemingly simple and obvious, these practices are essential to follow, yet ignored by many.

Those who should make cyber security compliance imperative to their day-to-day routine are those working for companies that deal with peoples’ personal information, such as a bank or hospitals. Ensuring that employees create strong passwords that are kept secure can prevent an individual’s finances from being exposed and stolen.

Past data breaches at companies like DropBox or Equifax have led to users’ emails, passwords, and personal information being put on the dark web. The causes of these breaches were found to be poor password management by employees. 

In such instances, the companies would have significantly benefited from hiring a cybersecurity service provider. These companies train employees on cybersecurity and develop strategies to secure your company’s information and databases. Cybersecurity consultants can be used to investigate data breaches when they do happen so that the weak points can be fixed. 

So, what can be done to prevent these breaches in the first place? Good password management skills are an easy safeguard.

RISKS OF POOR CYBER SECURITY

While the risks of using weak passwords are somewhat obvious, it is important to discuss them. Sometimes the most obvious things in life go overlooked. With dozens of accounts to come up with and remember passwords for, individuals can easily forget the most fundamental risks. 

Any company that uses technology to do business is at risk for a data breach. This risk can be reduced by instilling strong cyber security compliance in their employees through password management. Those with poor password management skills can leave their company’s infrastructure, client information, and financial databases vulnerable to hackers.

While protecting clients’ personal information is the most important reason for maintaining cyber security, there may also be legal consequences for businesses to consider, if their client’s information is breached. For example, the company was fined $700 million in the Equifax breach. So because someone made the login for the username and password “admin” on a database containing sensitive information, millions of people had their personal credit information exposed. Ultimately, this lack of security ended up costing the company millions of dollars. 

Ignorance and laziness can cost not only the company but the individual as well. In breaches like this, people often lose their jobs. In fact, Equifax’s CEO and other executives ended up resigning after this scandal. This example shows the importance of good password management and cyber security compliance.

OUTSOURCING CYBER SECURITY SERVICES

Outsourcing a cybersecurity service provider is a good practice for employers to maintain security and ensure that employees keep information safe. These companies aim to help implement safe practices and find and fix any potential threats. While cybersecurity companies are great for training employees on cybersecurity, many of these companies create generic strategies that can be used for multiple clients. Most times, these processes are expensive and may not cover specific information.

Optimising IT is a UK-based cyber consultancy company that prides itself on being different from other IT service providers. Optimising IT values trust, simplicity, and respect for its clients and creates tailored strategies for every client. With a culture centred around a fun workspace that has room for free thinking, this company provides its clients with new approaches to cyber security, perfect for an increasingly technological world.

Technology has come a long way, but not all of it is used for good. Hackers are able to install scanning software that can run every variation of passwords until it reaches the correct one. Software like this is why it is vital to come up with complex passwords, but how does one create a strong password and then remember it? 

TIPS FOR CREATING STRONG CYBER SECURITY SERVICES

There are endless discussions about keeping your information safe by maintaining secure password management skills. Yet many of these discussions make it too complicated and discourage people from implementing these practices. Implement these ten simple cyber security compliance tips to create unique passwords that are more complex so hackers cannot steal your information.

DON’T SHARE YOUR PASSWORDS

This is an obvious but important thing to practice, especially for those using a public or shared computer. You should never share your passwords, even with friends or family, because you never know who might take advantage of your trust. When it comes to cyber security compliance, it is better to be safe than sorry.

DON’T REUSE YOUR PASSWORDS

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to maintain bad password management is to reuse the same password for multiple accounts. While it is easier to remember one password, that puts you at risk of losing everything. By using the same password for different accounts, you are putting a welcome mat out for hackers to access every account using that single password. Using different passwords for every account makes it harder for hackers to access multiple databases.

DON’T USE NAMES, ADDRESSES, OR BIRTH DATES

Although it is one of the most repeated cyber security compliance instructions when creating passwords, many people still use personal information in their passwords. Even though these are considered personal information that not everyone knows, it is easy to figure out these things in an increasingly technological world.  

DON’T WRITE YOUR PASSWORD DOWN

While it might seem like a good way to remember passwords, writing them down is not a secure method for remembering them. Whether on paper or in a text (even with someone you trust), it is not safe to write out your passwords. A secure method for remembering passwords will be discussed in another tip.

DON’T USE FREE PUBLIC WIFI

Today most places – coffee shops for example – have free wifi for you to use. However, you should never access sensitive information or enter passwords using this kind of Wi-Fi access. It is okay and convenient for the use of social media or games, but it makes hackers’ lives much easier if you access something more sensitive, such as your bank account or business database.

CHANGE PASSWORDS EVERY SIX MONTHS

A good practice to put in place to maintain cyber security compliance is changing your passwords about every six months. While it is not imperative to change the password of every account an individual has, those deemed most important, like email, banking, or work accounts, should be changed on a regular basis. 

USE COMPLEX PHRASES

You can keep your information secure by using a complex combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. The possibilities are truly endless. An easy way to create a unique password is by using your favourite song lyrics or movie quotes. 

For example, the quote “I am inevitable” from Avengers: Endgame can be combined with numbers and special characters like *&$!+ to make iAM!nev!T@Bl3. It is important to remember not to use special characters (especially when using only one) at the beginning or end of the phrase.

USE CAMEL CASE PHRASES

A common practice when creating a password is using camel case phrases. Using this, you can “separate” phrases by capitalising the first letter of each word instead of using spaces or a special character. This is commonly used in computer programming and is a safe way to create a password.

USE A PASSWORD MANAGER

One of the main reasons people have poor password management skills is because of how many things require passwords. With so many accounts, it is impossible to remember them all and easy to reuse them. However, utilising a password manager can simplify this. A password manager is a software tool that can be downloaded on any device and allows you to create complex passwords. The software then remembers the passwords for you, making them simple for you to use – most times auto-filling them for you when you go to log in. These user-friendly tools mean you only need to remember one password – the ‘master’ password for the password manager. 

USE TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION 

Lastly, two-factor authentication is another method of securing your accounts that has become more popular in recent years. Software that uses this type of authentication uses either a form of biometric authentication, a one-time password (OTP) sent to an authorised device such as your phone or personal email, or a security question. Biometric measures used in this process can be a fingerprint or face ID. These types of authentication are typically prompted after you enter your password.

Following these ten tips can help you improve your password management skills immensely. Cyber security compliance is an integral part of all jobs and an important skill to practice in private. Creating a secure password that will not put you or others’ personal details at risk of being exposed by hackers is one of the most basic steps you can take when it comes to cyber security. What else can you do to protect yourself from cyber-attacks?

AVOIDING ATTACKS ON CYBER SECURITY

With technological advancements happening daily, life is becoming more and more virtual. Although these advancements are mostly helpful, some individuals use them to prey on the unsuspecting. There are plenty of easy ways for someone to access private information illegally. 

A few common tactics hackers use are phishing emails, malware, and ransomware. 

As an employee, it is crucial to be able to recognize these tactics, which is where cyber consultancy providers come in. By outsourcing a cyber security service provider that can train employees on how to identify and protect against these scams, you are protecting your business and your clients. 

Optimising IT is one of these companies that can keep your business safe through cyber security services. This provider offers seven services to keep your data secure, including:

  • Fully-managed cyber security
  • Cyber essentials certification
  • Cyber security audit
  • Penetration testing
  • Cyber security awareness training
  • Cyber security workshops
  • Cyber security consultancy

Check out these services today so you and your customers can rest easy knowing that their private information is safe. However, remember that it takes more than just a cyber consultancy team to stop cyber attacks. Implement your own safe practices on the internet, starting with good password management skills. 

Cyber security has never been more important for you and your business in an increasingly digital world. Follow the tips mentioned above to create a password that will protect you and your client’s private data. Hire a company like Optimising IT to take care of all your cyber security needs and prevent you and your employees from falling prey to the easy tactics used by hackers today.

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