With so many people on vacation and traveling during the holiday season, it can be a quiet time of year in many offices. If you’re stuck at your desk with some down time, it’s a great opportunity to check off a few tasks that you may not have time for otherwise.
Here are some ways you can improve your security and get a fresh start for the new year:
1. Set up a password manager.
Signing up for LastPass takes a few minutes. It can even import passwords for you, so you can automate most of the setup. With a password manager, all of your usernames and passwords will be organized in one safe place. Any time you need to log in to a website, LastPass will be there to enter your information. Any time you need to sign up for a new webiste, LastPass will be there to create a new password and remember it for you. It’s safer, it’s convenient, and it just works.
2. Update passwords.
Having strong passwords is always a good idea, but 2016 was a pretty epic year for breaches. Now it’s even more important to make all of your passwords unique, strong, and long. And if any of the websites you use have had a security issue, don’t delay changing your passwords.
You should change any passwords that are:
- Old (especially if a year or older)
- Weak (less than 8 characters and using an easily-guessed word)
- Previously shared
The LastPass Security Challenge can help you identify passwords you need to prioritize. You can launch the Security Challenge from your LastPass vault (in the left-hand menu) at any time. As you make changes, your Security Challenge score will improve, too![Take the Challenge]
3. Update your master password.
For optimal security, you want your master password to be long and unique. You never want to have a master password that’s the same or similar password you’ve used elsewhere. If it’s been over a year since you last changed your master password, or you think it could be stronger, read our tips for creating a new one. Be sure to practice it several times to commit it to memory.
4. Turn on two-factor authentication.
You’ve probably heard security professionals talk about the importance of two-factor authentication. Because there have been so many breaches and people tend to reuse passwords, two-factor authentication is a simple way to add more security by requiring an extra login step. That way, even if a password is stolen, someone still won’t get access to the account.
Note, if you’re using LastPass Teams or LastPass Enterprise, as an admin you can even turn on a policy to require two-factor authentication. You’ll boost the security of your business, without slowing down your users.
5. Run your antivirus software.
Keeping a clean machine is crucial. Let your antivirus software run, and take action on any problems it identifies.
6. Clear out browsing data.
All sorts of things accumulate in your browser over time, so it’s good practice to periodically start over with a clean slate. In your browser’s settings, clear all browsing data, including cookies, cached files, and autofill information. Note, this will also wipe out any settings that remember your passwords on websites you’ve used before, so be sure you completed task #1 above.
7. Update your browsers and/or operating systems.
It seems those prompts to restart your browser or install important updates always come at the worst times. But if you’ve been putting off those updates, don’t delay any longer. They typically include important security patches and bug fixes, and often usability improvements, too. So restart your computer, let all your updates run, and check for any updates for your favorite apps.
8. Clear saved network settings.
Over time your devices have probably connected to a lot of Wi-Fi networks. It’s a good idea to regularly wipe them clean from your device.
9. Change your home Wi-Fi password.
When was the last time you changed your Wi-Fi network password? Probably never. And your router itself might still be using the default password that came with the device. Or maybe you never set up a network password at all! First, if you haven’t secured your Wi-Fi network with a password, you really need to. Second, periodically changing the password ensures that others aren’t abusing your network. The inconvenience of asking a family member or friend to re-authenticate is worth the added security.
10. Review your apps.
Take the time to go through all the apps on your computers, smartphone, and/or tablet. If you’re no longer using an app – or maybe never got around to trying it – uninstall it.
11. Make backups.
Hopefully you’re doing backups throughout the year, whether manual or automated. As the year draws to a close, go through your files, clear out what you don’t need, and make sure you have a backup of your important documents. If you have scheduled automated backups, review your settings and make sure all is in working order. Some experts even recommend having more than one backup, such as an external hard drive and a cloud storage solution in addition to your computer, just in case. If you don’t have a system in place, do your research and start one now.
What other to-do’s do you recommend for starting the new year off right? Tell us in the comments below!