What steps do you take to stay safe online?  Google recently conducted a survey of IT security experts and web users who aren’t security experts to see where they differed.  The results are interesting.

Top 5 Security Practices of Experts and Non-Experts 

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Anti-Virus is Necessary but Software Updates are Crucial

While using anti-virus software is necessary, the experts believe that installing software updates is the number one best safety practice.  Software updates, also called patches, provide essential security fixes, reliability updates, and other feature enhancements. Still, patches are only one piece of the overall security puzzle.

If your IT provider does not regularly install updates on your network, now is the time to find out about a Microsoft patch service.  If you handle your company’s IT yourself, make sure you’re applying the Microsoft patches as they are released to avoid missing out on new features in addition to security fixes.

Passwords

While passwords are important to both groups, the experts take a different approach to them than non-experts.  Non-experts believe using strong passwords and changing them frequently will provide the most protection.  Experts agree with using strong passwords, but they also want passwords to be unique.  The experts add that the best way to keep passwords safe is by using a password manager.

We recommend password managers to our clients.  A password manager allows you to use strong, unique passwords, without using the same one twice, and without having to remember them (or worse yet, write them down).  Ask your IT provider for advice.  Or, PCMag.com recently compiled a comparison of the best password managers  to help you choose what’s best for you.

Summary

Solid security requires a multi-layered approach that includes everything the experts and non-experts suggest here and more.  A combination of strong technical tools and user knowledge is required to keep your network safe.  Talk with your IT provider to ensure that your network is as secure as possible based on your needs and budget.