To celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), we’ve put together this list of common computing security mishaps. We (along with your IT team) strongly recommend steering clear of these errors, for NCSAM and all months to follow. You can thank us later.
Neglecting to Save Regularly
Of course, no one would ever have a problem saving their work if they weren’t so absorbed in their current project. Despite the obvious benefits of saving (namely, the fact that it allows you to continue your work from when you left off, instead of restarting it), we often skip out on the few clicks needed to safely save the information for next time, especially if our computing habits translate to us leaving our devices on until their next use.
Aside from making it so that your work is saved throughout its checkpoints, saving documents regularly ensures the safety of your data should your device ever be stolen. Your IT team will encrypt your data so it won’t end up in the wrong hands – they just can’t recover that data unless it’s saved somewhere secure.
Treating Sensitive Information Carelessly
Considering the amount of time most people spend on their computing devices, it’s easy to understand why so many security “slips of the tongue” happen so often. Indeed, opportunities for mistakes seem to present themselves at any turn. Accidentally sharing sensitive information can happen by simply sending an email to the wrong recipient, or leaving printed documents unattended in a public space.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix that your IT team can offer you if you’ve openly – albeit mistakenly – shared sensitive computing-related info. The only practice to employ here is loss prevention. That means re-reading your emails, ensuring that no sensitive documents are left where they shouldn’t be, and taking any other mindful security measures that will protect your computing privacy.
Forgetting to Lock the Computer
If you’re working in a public space, your computer should be locked whenever you aren’t looking at it. Regardless of the brevity of your next bathroom trip, or how close the water cooler is to your desk, your screen is meant for your eyes only. If left unlocked when you aren’t around, you’re instantly vulnerable to someone slipping in your chair during the few seconds you aren’t around, taking whatever passwords and sensitive information they can find.
It’s unlikely, of course, especially if you work with people you trust, but you have to take whatever security measures are available to you. In this case, that means locking your computer. The security benefits here vastly outweigh any hesitance you might have to perform such a clear security measure in front of coworkers. Follow respective locking direction for Mac and PC.
In all cases, your IT team is available to help clean up the mess. However, it’s important to realize that some things are unrecoverable if they were lost due to computing negligence. In order to prevent security issues before they have a chance to manifest, it’s best to avoid making the mishaps outlined here.