October 1 marks the beginning of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. In its 10th Anniversary, this year’s theme is Our Shared Responsibility. At Develop CENTS, we take IT security extremely seriously, and always work to educate our customers and other business contacts in the importance of online security.
As many have heard us say, we believe computer security is first and foremost an awareness issue. Businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals do not follow security best practices because they are not security aware.
In this blog post, we will present a number of helpful concepts and resources including some previous blog posts we have written, in order to help you better understand IT security.
1: No computer, computer network, server, or website is ever 100% secure
There is a humorous saying among Systems Engineers and other IT professionals that a truly secure computer is one that is turned off, unplugged, encased in concrete, buried five feet, and guarded 24/7. We completely agree.
2: Your security is as much your responsibility as it is your IT Department’s and/or your Service Provider’s responsibility.
In an earlier blog post entitled “Information Security: 3 Ways to Secure Your Data,” I gave three ways in which individuals and organizations can secure their own data, all of which have nothing to do with a service they receive. These include:
- Don’t use personal email for organization communication
- Never email passwords, SSNs, or other sensitive information
- Use data encryption
In another blog post entitled “Password Security & User Accounts,” I wrote about two ways people should protect their passwords, including:
- Do not use the same password and
- Use strong passwords
Finally, in yet another blog post, I wrote about some Password Management Tools individuals and organizations can use in order to keep their (hopefully, strong) passwords safe. These include:
3: Firewalls really are important!
In a blog post entitled “Routers, Switches & Firewalls: What Are the Differences?“, I briefly explained the differences between, well, routers, switches and firewalls! But I also explained why a firewall is important and what it does. If you are a business or nonprofit organization, this is especially important.
4: Software Updates are Critical
Finally, in the last point of this blog post, I want to draw your attention to yet another blog post I’ve written, entitled “Windows Updates & Other Security Patches.” In it, I talk about why keeping your Microsoft Windows operating system up-to-date is so important. I also present screenshots and mention two other software packages that people should keep up-to-date, Java and Adobe.
But let’s not confine ourselves to just these three examples! There are countless other programs that run on Microsoft Windows that should be routinely updated. Apple provides security updates for their products as well (Mac OSX and iOS for example). And open source developers are constantly fixing bugs (including security holes) in Linux software. Most of the successful data breaches into computer systems, websites and networks, regardless of the software they run, occur because software was not kept up-to-date. You cannot afford to not keep your software, servers, and computer networks up-to-date.