For new employees and those who have years of experience, it’s very important to know more about how to protect your work data and keep it safe online. We all focus only on protecting our personal information on our personal device, because the IT department in any organization is responsible for providing all the security and anti-virus programs. However, there are still measures we can take to make sure that all the hard work put in the presentations, reports and plans doesn’t get lost or goes to waste.
So, here are some tips on how to strengthen cyber security at work:
- Password: As always, it is “the” most crucial thing we all own these days, so keep it complex, yet something you can remember and also change it regularly. As I was researching for this blog, I found a cool idea: instead of choosing a word, choose a phrase followed by numbers, like “ILoveSomething123”. This will help you have numbers, small letters and capital ones, and make it easy to memorize!
- Access Code: Never EVER share your access codes (emails, system usernames, etc.) with anyone in or out of work!
- Email: We all receive hundreds of emails a week (sometimes a 100 a day!), but we have to be careful of who to reply to and who to avoid. If you don’t know the sender, the easiest thing is to check their email, if they had a specific domain from the organization they represent (e.g.: @ict.gov.qa) then they are properly safe.
- Attachments: There is never a harm in scanning an attachment for viruses before opening it. It will only take a few seconds to make sure you are safe from any virus that could ruin your device.
- Links: Treat the links you receive on your email with caution. Read through the content of your email carefully first before clicking on it, and if you weren’t sure about it, let the IT department know.
- Sensitive Data: Remember to delete any email or document on your device with sensitive information that you don’t need anymore. If you need them, save them in a locked archiving folder on your device or email. Ask your IT department to help you set that up.
- Backup: Back up your documents in an offline hard drive that you should keep in a locked drawer.
- System Update: Remember to keep your system, browsers and other software updated as the update could have crucial bug fixes.
- External Enquiries: We receive enquiries from various individuals via email or phone and it is important to stay sharp and not to provide any detailed information about the organization or any stakeholders (clients, vendors, etc.) unless you are 100% sure of the caller. If not, then ask to call them back and check with your superior or if in highly suspicious situations, the IT department can assist.
- External Website: Be careful of any pop-ups or referral links on external websites that you are not sure about.
- Personal Devices: Avoid using any personal devices or external hard drives or connect them to the organization network without getting clearance from the IT department.
- Outside the Office: When working outside, try your best to avoid connecting to public networks and instead always remember to save your documents on your desktop to work offline. When working with sensitive information never connect your device to these networks and it’s better to be safe and return to the office, if possible.
- Report Suspicious Emails: Keep your IT department updated on any suspicious or unusual activity on your device.
For more information on the subject of cyber security, please don’t hesitate to consult the Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team (Q-CERT) website. As I always say, educating yourself is the best logical thing to do, so take a few minutes to read more on this subject and stay safe!