Alamo Colleges District

Ten Cybersecurity Best Practices

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With many employees working remotely, following these ten best practices will keep our data and ID’s safe.

1. Protect your data

Avoid sharing personal information like your Social Security or credit card number when answering an unsolicited email, phone call, text message or instant message. Cybercriminals can create email addresses and websites that look legitimate. They can fake caller ID information and often use a variety of questions and approaches to obtain information that will help them gain access to a company’s financial accounts and transfer funds to a bank account that they control.

It’s important not to leak data, sensitive information or intellectual property. If you share a picture online that shows a whiteboard or computer screen in the background, you could accidentally reveal proprietary information. Also, respect the intellectual property of other companies. Even if it’s accidental, sharing or using the IP or trade secrets of other companies could get both you and your company into trouble.

2. Avoid pop-ups, unknown emails and links

Beware of phishing. Phishers try to trick you into clicking on a link that may result in a security breach. Be cautious of links and attachments in emails from senders you don’t know. Follow this rule—never enter personal or company information in response to an email, pop-up webpage, or any other communication you didn’t initiate. Phishing can lead to identity theft. It’s also the way most ransomware attacks occur.

3. Use strong password protection and authentication

Strong, complex passwords can help stop cyber thieves from accessing ACD information. If a cybercriminal figures out your password, it could give them access to the ACD’s network. A strong password contains at least 10 characters and includes numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters. You also should change your passwords regularly.

4. Connect to secure Wi-Fi

When you’re working remotely, you can help protect data by using a virtual private network (VPN), if your company has one. A VPN is essential when doing work outside of the office. Some VPNs are safer than others. If your company has a VPN it trusts, make sure you know how to connect to it and use it

5. Enable firewall protection at work and at home

Having a firewall for your home network is a first line of defense in helping protect data against cyberattacks. Firewalls prevent unauthorized users from accessing your websites, mail services, and other sources of information that can be accessed from the web.

6. Invest in security systems

All of the devices you use at home should have the protection of strong security software. Alert the IT department or Information Security manager if you see anything that might indicate a security issue. There may be a flaw in the system that the company needs to patch or fix. The quicker you report an issue, the better.

7. Install security software updates and back up your files

Keep your security software, web browsers, and operating systems updated with the latest protections, Anti-virus and anti-malware protection are frequently updated to respond to new cyberthreats. If ACD sends out instructions for security updates, install them right away. Secure and back up files in case of a data breach or malware attack. Contact IT if you need to know how to back up your data.

8. Talk to the IT department

Reach out to your IT support team about information security. It’s a good idea to work with this department if something like a software update hits a snag. Don’t let a simple problem become more complex by attempting to “fix” it. If you’re unsure, IT can help. It’s also smart to report security warnings from your internet security software to IT. They might not be aware of all threats that occur.

Beware of tech support scams. You might receive a phishing email from someone claiming to be from IT. The goal is to trick you into installing malware on your computer or mobile device or providing sensitive data. Don’t provide any information. Contact the IT department right away.

9. Use third-party controls

It’s common for data breaches to begin from within companies. That’s why organizations limit employee access to customer and client information. Be sure to implement and follow ACD rules about how sensitive information is stored and used.

10. Embrace education and training

Your responsibilities include knowing your company’s cybersecurity policies and what’s expected of you. If you’re unsure about a policy, ask. Follow ACD’s Acceptable Electronic Use (AEU) policy. Be sure to use authorized applications to access sensitive documents.


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