A Simple First Step to Better Cybersecurity

It seems like every day we hear something in the news about cyber security, hacking, scams, or some other scary digital life term.  What is a small to medium sized business owner to do?  How do I protect what I have built or plan to build without spending lots of money hiring an IT professional or IT company to protect my assets?

I like to think of the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s quote, “The Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  For your business’s cyber security, it begins with a simple first step.  Change your system or computer’s default login and password.  Two friends that work in the IT industry told me a company can reduce it’s chances of cyber-attack by more than 50% if they just changed their admin passwords on their systems.   The majority of small to medium sized businesses default system administrator passwords has not been changed from:

LOGIN: admin

PASSWORD: password

or some variation of this combination.  I know it’s hard to remember all of these logins.  There’s the social media account password and the email system password, and string of other logins that a person has to remember.  This simple step can start your journey.

Consider this analogy, you wouldn’t leave the key in the door to your business when you left at night would you?  Would you leave the keys to your work truck/car in the ignition, unlocked overnight would you?  So if you would take the simple steps to safeguard physical things your business uses every day, why not take the same steps to protect the digital aspects of your business?

So if you are ready to begin this journey here are some recommendations:

  1. Change the default password on your system (admin/password)
  2. Use passwords that are 12 characters or more
  3. Separate your business passwords from your personal passwords
  4. When available, turn on two-factor authentication
  5. It’s ok to physically write your password down for reference

If you will take any of these steps, you have begun your journey to digitally safeguarding your business.