Do you know if your sensitive data is secure? It’s not just big corporations falling under a cyberattack. Anyone can become a victim of cybercrime these days.
From computers to tablets and smartphone devices, it’s more crucial now than ever to have a checklist of the best IT security guidelines to implement.
Anytime you install a new application or enter sensitive information, you open a new window of opportunity for hackers to retrieve your data.
To ensure you’re managing your network security properly, here are the top nine IT security guidelines to follow in 2022
1. Use a Firewall
Firewalls control and monitor any incoming and outgoing traffic in your network. It either permits or blocks data through a series of rules. Furthermore, it acts as a barrier between your home network and the external network—blocking malicious traffic such as viruses or hackers.
Firewalls analyze and guard traffic against the computer’s entry point, called ports. These parts are where the information gets exchanged with external devices.
Firewalls can either be software or hardware, but you should essentially have both. The most common type of firewall is packet-filtering which prohibits packets from coming through if it’s unmatched.
Other types of firewalls include:
- NGFW (next-generation firewalls)
- Proxy firewalls
- NAT (network address translation) firewalls
- SMLI (stateful multilayer inspection) firewalls
2. Install Antivirus and Anti-malware Software
Antivirus and anti-malware software protects you from viruses, ransomware, trojans, spyware, worms and other intrusions installed on your network. You have to be careful with these types of unauthorized programs because they can sneakily enter your system in various ways. Usually, it’s in the form of a corrupted file or a link and sometimes through other infected devices.
Malware, or malicious software, is created by cybercriminals to infect your computer for several reasons. For example, ransomware will compromise sensitive data or hack your device in exchange for a payment.
Anti-malware will provide peace of mind by scanning for damaged files regularly. Once detected, the software will quarantine and delete the corrupted files.
3. Create Secure Passwords and Update Regularly
Did you know that 50% of people use the same password for every login? In fact, poor password security is one of the most common types of data breaches. Ensure you create a strong password to prevent hackers from accessing your information.
When you first create a login, create a password made up of a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols. It must be a password that most won’t remember. As a general rule, you should include at least one number, one uppercase letter and one symbol.
You should also use a different password for each account and keep it updated every six months.
4. Constant Software Updates
Software updates are vital for security because they contain fixes to known vulnerabilities in the system. It’s important that you don’t wait because you can put your data at risk. In most cases, a software update is the company’s way of plugging a security hole into the system.
Once an update is available, act on the update immediately. Furthermore, you should deactivate any software or programs you are not using. Combining some of these IT security guidelines will give you the best course of action for staying up to date.
5. Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing happens when a misleading email or text message comes from someone who appears legitimate. Once the user opens a notification, they’ll click on the link which downloads a file or reveals sensitive information.
You can avoid this common mistake by installing a security program with anti-phishing capabilities. This feature will warn you if someone sends you a suspicious email or link.
It’s also important to be mindful each time you open your inbox. Being suspicious of every link is one of the best IT security guidelines to follow.
6. Regulate Data Backups
If you have important documents and files, consider backing up all your data in a secure location. For instance, you can store all your information in the cloud for backup purposes. All your data can get lost if a hacker tries to retrieve it and limit access.
A general rule of thumb is to have the latest backup and check it regularly to ensure it’s working properly.
7. Incorporate Multifactor Identification
One of the top IT security guidelines to follow is using a multifactor identification setting. Data compromisation happens most of the time because a user makes a security mistake. So, you must use this setting for your network and email for security protection.
For instance, you can use a cell phone number as a second form of identification. This method makes it possible to prevent thieves from stealing your PIN or password information.
8. Monitor Authorized Account Users
Track users who have access to your sensitive data across your network. It’s necessary to keep them accountable. That way, you know who’s responsible for the leak and the location of it.
In addition to monitoring end-users, you can also manage access control. First, you’ll need to ensure that the people who have access to your data are authorized. Then, you can ensure you recognize each user and device who has access to the information.
9. Monitor Third-Parties
Anyone who has access to your data from a remote point is at higher risk of cyberattacks. On the other hand, cybercriminals also have the opportunity to enter your system. The best way to implement protection from data breaches is to monitor third-party actions.
One simple method is to limit the scope of access to third-party users. Plus, monitoring user activity lets you see who is connecting to your network and why.
Furthermore, it would help if you used monitoring in conjunction with one-time passwords. This tactic will log all user actions. That way, you can detect any malicious activity and conduct full investigations when needed.
Following and Implementing IT Security Guidelines
Taking certain approaches will allow you to build a layered network security protection. Additionally, you can prevent unauthorized users from accessing your current data. To maintain standard protection processes, ensure you use the top IT security guidelines.
You can go beyond the basic protection by maintaining network security audits on all devices. Then take the necessary precautions needed for future security enhancements.
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