5 ways your mama lied to you about network security

We were talking to your Mom last night, but then again who wasn’t?

After all, she’s the genius we look to for all things IT. Surely, with decades of wisdom, she wouldn’t steer you the wrong direction. But after years of forwarding chain emails and losing countless rounds of Minesweeper, her experience has left us with a few questionable bits of information about cyber awareness. Now we’re not saying you’re Mama’s a liar—but that’s exactly what we’re saying because here’s everything she got wrong about network security.

5. Mama said hackers only go after big companies

It’s true, many hackers look for the biggest pile of loot they can find. But there are just as many—if not more—hackers out to destroy the little man. They go for small businesses and individuals with no regard for the destruction they leave behind. According to a 2018 Verizon report, small businesses account for 58% of malicious malware attacks. If you think you’re safe because your team isn’t part of a Fortune 500 business, think again. From website portals to cloud services, all businesses should value network security.

4. Mama said to write down important passwords

The last thing you need is to forget your password. Getting back into a locked account is not only time consuming—it’s frustrating. But before you go scrawling down your super secret passcode for the world to see, you might want to reconsider.

Writing down your password, or even a secret code to help remember it, leaves a paper trail behind that anyone can follow. Employees will let their guard down when they believe their account has little to no value. What they fail to realize is every account has value in the eyes of a hacker. If your account has access to the company network, it’s a perfect target for anyone who wants to get their foot in the door.

3. Mama said pay the IT company if they call about a virus

If you get a call (or sometimes an email) requesting payment to remove a virus found on your machine, it’s probably a scam. Microsoft doesn’t monitor your computer for malicious activity and neither does Apple. These companies won’t be reaching out to sell you IT support any time soon. You don’t just have to take our word for it, Microsoft offers a detailed list of red flags to look for in these scams. Identify the warning signs and instead of sending these faux IT companies money, try hanging up on them instead.

2. Mama said we don’t need a guest network

“If someone comes over, we’ll just give them the WiFi password!”

That attitude might work at home, but at work it’s detrimental. Your team should restrict access to things like cloud services and network portals to internal personnel as much as possible. Avoid sharing sensitive network keys with third party individuals. Even something small, like temporary WiFi access, is risky enough to compromise the integrity of your network.

When you have visitors on site, provide them with a separate network access point. The network should be limited in access with accounts managed internally. The guest network will separate any unwanted traffic and activity from your internal environment.

1. Mama said to forgo encryption standards and protocols

We’re not sure when she picked up this networking vernacular, but what your Mama said here is wrong. While encryption protocols can make authentication processes take longer, they save your team from dealing with vicious cyber attacks. Modern encryption standards are necessary for protecting your business from outside threats and increasing cyber awareness. Encryption helps protect sensitive data found in things like website browsing history, emails, and text messages. If you want to do your business a favor, work toward using high level encryption standards in your daily routine.

Don’t Take It Personally, Ma

It’s best not to gamble with critical business components. Things like network and cloud security are best left in the hands of IT professionals. Most cyber threats are easily avoided with careful planning and rigid security protocols. You can support your team (and business) by preparing for cyber attacks, not responding to them. And although she means well, it’s probably time your Mama left the office.Want to know more? Contact us today for more information about network security standards and where to begin.