We all make mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes can have drastic consequences. Make sure that you are following these quick and easy tips to stay safe both in your office and online. 

1. Leaving machine on and unattended.

Make sure you lock your computer when you walk away from it. This ensures that whatever you're working on is safe from passers-by. This is particularly important with computers that could be sneakily accessible by customers or patients at a small business or dentist's office.

2. Opening email attachments.

Do not blindly open email attachments. If you aren't expecting the attachment, don't open it. Hackers are smarter these days, and can actually use addresses found in your Outlook address book to send you viruses. Watch out for invoices and resumes, which are the two most popular hacker tricks. Read more about ransomware here. 

3. Using a poor password.

Most passwords can be easily guessed by a hacker within 10 minutes. Make it harder for them by adding special characters like an exclaimation mark or a hashtag. Use more than 8 characters, too. Use these tips to create a strong password.

4. Connecting to unsecured wifi.

When connecting to wifi, make sure you are someplace safe like your home or office. Try not to connect to "free wifi" like those found at Target or McDonalds. You never know who else could be using this wifi to access your cell phones or laptops.

5. Not backing up your data.

Make sure you have a backup device or solution. Are you backing up your data on site or in the cloud? How often are you backing up? We typically suggest our clients back up their data every hour, but speak with your managed service provider to find the solution that best fits your needs.

6. Trusting too much.

Social engineering is on the rise, and hackers are using it to infect your system with viruses. Don't give out personal information over the phone or online, especially passwords or things like your social security number. Stay smart, and if you receive a shady phone call or email, contact your IT department.

7. Using Windows XP.

If you're still using Windows XP, you should consider speaking with your MSP about upgrading. Some software requires the use of Windows XP, but if your business software supports a newer version, upgrade it! Microsoft no longer supports this operating system, so technical issues often go unresolved. In addition to that, a Windows XP OS is 200x more likely to get infected with a virus.

8. Avoiding patches and updates.

Along the same vein, you should be making sure that all of your applications and systems are up to date. Viruses are easier to place on systems using outdated applications and operating systems which means they are common targets for hackers.

9. Trying to do it all yourself.

This seems like a lot of information to keep track of, I know, so it's important that you have someone on your side who knows what they're doing and can help you. Remembering to update your computer and creating backup plans for data loss aren't easy--get your IT team or managed service provider involved to make sure that everything is taken care of.