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Stay Clean: A Word on Digital Hygeine

by Blog

We all have our daily routines we do in the name of hygiene. Showers, shaving, brushing our teeth, washing our hair, we do these so we not only look our best, but to avoid issues that come from not doing these things. We want our teeth to be clean, so they don’t fall out and we can smile without reservation. We want our hair at it’s best. Our skin and our clothes, well these are more than just first impression things, they also will help keep people around us, no one wants to be the smelly one. Hygiene is important, and that isn’t just for our bodies, also for our network.

Digital hygiene is a term that has become prominent in the past few years. It’s applying the same principals we use to our physical hygiene, a combination of routines, cleanliness and upkeep, to make sure our network is running at an optimal rate. Digital Hygiene also ensures that we are running a safe network for our business, our customers, and ourselves. But what should be on this checklist?

Many companies use various SaaS (software as a service) products. However, this can leave holes in your system without proper maintenance. Updates and patches for these products occur for a few reasons. One of which is adding new features to your software, as SaaS allows for quick and constant product evolution. The other reason is more about security. When hackers attack these software’s, or holes are reported to the developer, new patches are usually put out as quickly as possible. A great example of this is the Zero Day

attack on Microsoft Exchange servers. Once reported to Microsoft, their team worked quickly to patch these holes that allowed for the intrusions. Make sure you are checking your notifications from these developers frequently and updating your software as soon as they become available to ensure you are running smoothly and safely.

Your backups are also important. We here at Delval Technology Solutions recommend the method of 321. This means each important file and folder should be backed up three different times. You want to make sure they are backed up in at least two different places, be it cloud networks, external hard drives or flash drives. Finally, one of these copies should be kept offsite in case of emergency or not being able to get access to your internal network. From there, you want to ensure that these backups are properly encrypted and can only be accessed with a properly corresponding key. This way, if any unauthorized party does get through, the information is useless to them as they cannot read it.

Finally, it is of the utmost importance that you regularly test these backups. Many people think all you have to do is backup your data and leave it at that. In reality you need to check these backups to ensure that they are legible, accessible, and can be used in case of an emergency. Speaking of emergency’s, have a proper disaster plan in place is important to your digital hygiene. We have touched on this before in other blogs, but it bears repeating. There is no such thing as a 100% foolproof system. Human error can occur, a hacker could sneak in, or a natural disaster can take down your office or your network. How you handle these situations can be the difference between a minor headache and a catastrophe. You should be properly training your staff to protect against social engineering attacks, doing walk throughs of you office space to ensure that your hardware is placed in safe and secure areas. Testing is another important area of digital hygiene.  This extends past your backups. You should be testing your hardware, your software and most importantly, your security.

Having a proper MSP by your side, such as Delval Technology Solutions, will ensure that you have a team of experts with trained eyes running these tests. They can look for flaws in your firewalls, backdoors for hackers to access, and test your endpoints. On top of this, if anyone did get in your system, these tests can allow you to find them at a much quicker rate and get them to where they belong, away from your network.

The final part of this is about access, who has access to what in regard to your network. Not everyone in your organization needs access to every file, which makes it important to segment your data accordingly. Certain information should be kept on a need-to-know basis, in order not only ensure a proper workflow, but also proper security. Another important part of access is your passwords. We recommend using random password generators, as it will keep the urge to use basic passwords that while easy to remember are also

easily cracked. Update these passwords every few months, so if you make any organizational changes or do have intrusions, you can at least ensure that they

won’t be able to get back in if they are unauthorized.

Think of your digital hygiene in the same way you do your regular hygiene. It is more than just about keeping up appearances. It can also dictate how people interact with you, as well as give you piece of mind when interacting with the outside world. Things such as testing your systems and your backups, changing your passwords, running proper updates, and having a disaster recovery plan are your maintenance routine. These are  the teeth, hair and skin of your network, and as with many other things, a clean workplace is a happy, productive workplace.