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Expert opinion: Six simple steps for online security

Over the festive season many tend to set the expectations for the New Year, so this is a perfect time to remind you on the importance of your IT management and security.

Specialised research from Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report displays that in 2008, 285 million records were compromised, exposing millions of people.

This year Thirdline are going to explain how six simple steps will ensure your business is safe moving forward.

Establish a strong password

Yes we said it, make sure your passwords are strong and changed on a regular basis. Computer Tech 101 shares their tips for crafting a hard-to-crack password: use a combination of capital and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols, and make it 8 to 12 characters long, for example “Y3ar”

Ensure that this passwords has no association with any personal information as hackers can find this through search engines and social media.

Use this password checker to see how strong yours is – Password Checker


Ensure that you have some sort of firewall enabled on your network and web browsers. A firewall protects your network by controlling internet the traffic coming into and flowing out of your business. You may want to seek professional assistance with this.


Anti-virus or anti-malware software is a must in your arsenal of online security weapons. It will be your last line of defence if anything gets through, defend what is yours.

Patch Management

The IT industry is forever changing and how providers get their updates to their users. This is done through new software release updates.

Having a schedule for running updates on software and operating systems ensures that your defences are ready for the new nasty virus or hacker.

There are many forms of software you can run, but some professional assistance will ensure the updates are being done at the right times.

Secure your devices

Our devices are of the portable nature, laptops and mobiles are at a higher risk of being lost or stolen than your average desktop. It’s important to take some extra steps to make certain your sensitive data is protected. There are a few ways you can achieve security and one is encryption.

Encrypt your laptop, it’s easy and applies that extra layer of security if ever you lose the device or if it gets stolen. If you are on windows use the windows encryption which is free Windows Encryption.

If you are using an Apple system you can use the Apple encryption provided by Apple, see the guide for this Apple Encryption.

Backup regularly

Thirdline live and breathe the importance of backups, we see backup like Superman, always ready to save the day. Try to have a local backup as well as backing up to the Cloud. The general rule of thumb for backups are:

  • Servers should have a complete backup weekly, and incremental backups every night;
  • Personal computers should also be backed up completely every week, but you can do incremental backups every few days if you like.

Test your backup every few months because you don’t want to find the backup actually is corrupted or damaged in some way. Seek professional advice to construct the right setup to ensure that backups are automated.

The main message of this column is to have a great new year and not to worry about your IT, well after you have implemented the above six steps.

Feel free to contact Thirdline with any questions on 0800 0822 420 or tweet @Thirdlineuk