Eight easy ways to boost your web security


Date: 19 February 2014

Eight easy ways to boost your web security/Security fence{{}}There’s always more you can do to protect your business from security threats. But there’s never quite enough time to do everything.

So, here are eight easy ways to give your company security a bit of a boost.

1. Get the latest version of Windows

Unlike in the fashion industry, old tech rarely becomes cool again. You aren’t going to get any new customers because you run Windows 98.

Also, the latest operating systems have better security features, meaning you'll be better protected from web threats.

The same applies if you’re using Mac OS, or some other operating system. Stick with the latest version to be safest.

2. Bin Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is so 2004 and people using it tend to get targeted because hackers know they’re not likely to be very web-savvy.

More advanced browsers like Firefox and Chrome have additional useful features, are generally safer to use and cost absolutely nothing. Which means there’s no reason not to switch.

3. Keep all your software updated

Constant update notifications from your software can be really annoying, but ignoring them could end up causing you more problems.

Virtual bugs are just like real life ones — they’re constantly evolving to find different ways to infect you. Updates contain new info on how to swat the bugs. Unless you install them, you won't see the benefit.

4. Improve your passwords

If your password for something is 'password' then you're in for a bad time of it. Hopefully your passwords aren't this terrible, but it's likely they could be improved.

For maximum security, use a random combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. You can use a service like LastPass to help you remember them.

Read more password tips >>

5. Use two-factor authentication

It sounds technical, but all two-factor authentication means is that logging in requires you to prove your identity in two ways. Usually, you need a password you know and a reference code that’s sent to your mobile phone.

You can easily set up two-factor authentication on many websites and online services, including Twitter, Gmail, iTunes, Facebook, Microsoft accounts and LinkedIn.

6. Maintain restore points

We’ve all had one of those moments when your jaw drops, you stare blankly at the screen and think: ‘I've made a huge mistake.’ It’s at times like these that System Restore can be a lifesaver.

System Restore is a feature in Windows that allows you to roll your computer back to a previous point in time. The idea is that if something goes wrong, you can go back to the last ‘known good’ configuration.

Your computer will probably create restore points on its own, but you can do it yourself when you make major system changes, too.

7. Backup your data

Ok, here’s the worst case: your computer is so utterly cream-crackered that you need to wipe it and start again.

If you’ve been backing up your data regularly then the process of getting back to normal becomes much less painful.

External hard drives for backups are pretty cheap these days. You can also use online storage, such as that offered by Dropbox and Google.

Learn more about backups >>

8. Be a vigilant browser

To be honest, this point alone could make up a whole new tip sheet. But in a nutshell, try to stick to websites you trust.

Sites listed higher up in search results are more likely to be safe because more people have used them.

There are some dark and dingy corners of the internet. Try and avoid them.

Nick Chowdrey is a finance and accounting writer for Crunch, an online accountancy firm for freelancers and small businesses.

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