The risk of hacking, malware or other cyber-attack is a pervasive and potentially devastating part of modern working life. A threat from which everyone is at risk; every organisation, every industry sector. Including those working within the realm of IT and internet security. Which is why they practice what they preach; taking every precaution possible to prevent the damage that can arise from an attack.
So, who better to learn from? Here we list some of the key measures that IT experts will employ, to best secure their own computers.
1. Password Complexity
IT security certainly needs to be more robust than simply using passwords. However, they do still have a place in the overall measures you take. But they need to have a complexity to them – no memorable dates or the names of your children. And no duplication across different sites and access points. When using passwords, the experts will tend to ensure they are long, complex, and unique; often randomly generated via a powerful password manager.
2. Multi-Step Authentication
As we said, passwords alone are not enough to offer the protection needed in a modern IT landscape. Which is why experts will tend towards multi-step authentication to gain access to their computers. This might include a password along with a series of questions, memorable phrases or security codes or PINs.
3. Anti-Virus Software
It would go without saying that those ‘in the know’ will include anti-virus protection as part of their overall security measure. The important factor with this, however, is that the software needs to be robust, and always up-to-date. You’ll also tend to find a multi-layered approach to many expert’s systems. The adoption of additional anti-malware and application signature management that runs concurrent with traditional anti-virus.
4. Software Updates
It’s one of those tips that always finds its way to lists such as these. And for good reason. Any IT guru worth their salt will tell you that outdated software on your system leads to vulnerability. Which is why they will always ensure that new updates and security patches are installed when they become available.
5. Be Wary of Email Links
Spear-phishing continues to be one of the prime routes to accessing an IT network and the data contained within a computer. Links on emails that purport to be from a client, or supplier (an invoice, CV or delivery note for example), that are unrecognised should be treated with caution. Up-to-date and effective anti-phishing software will be a prerequisite of any IT expert deploying maximum security measures.
6. Download Checks
The way we work and the way we live is increasingly digital. With Software as a Service (SaaS) more and more the norm, so we grow accustomed to downloading items from websites and online service providers. Expert IT security would include anti-malware software to scan downloads for potential harm. But it also boils down to behaviour and awareness. Know the sites from which you are downloading, retaining a healthy caution of software downloads from unknown sources. Recognising secure sites – with the padlock symbol and / or an HTTPS connection protocol, is certainly something the wider computer-user can learn from the experts.
Any reputable IT expert will tell you that there’s no one single solution to protecting your computer. Computer security requires a multi-targeted, ‘belts and braces’ approach to guard against changing malware threats, but also in the prevention of data loss through hacking, or even carelessness.
Combining appropriate software, regular updating and, as important, general nous in the way you use your computer and online access, are all essential components for expert-level IT security.