How to Help Employees Secure Their Online Identities

Bill Rybinski
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Your employees' digital security can have an unexpected impact on your company; if just one employee account is breached, it can put your confidential data at risk. To keep staff members safe and to avoid exposing your company's valuable files, take steps to help employees keep their online identities safe and secure.

Require Frequent Password Changes

One of the easiest ways for tech workers to increase digital security is to require employees to change their passwords regularly. This holds true for all accounts, from company email to the VPN login information. If an employee doesn't change his password and it is stolen, the hacker has access to your systems for an extended period of time. There is no specific time requirement, but Microsoft recommends that users change their passwords once every 30 to 90 days. To ensure that employees do not try to get around the policy, you may need to program each company system to automatically require the password change. If possible, write it into your policy that employees may not reuse passwords from personal accounts for their work accounts; though the policy is impossible to enforce, it can get staff members thinking about creating a secure online identity.

Hide Personal Information

When it comes to digital security, many workers aren't aware of the danger of exposing too much personal information. Consider the common password recovery questions, which often include "What is your mother's maiden name?" One visit to a public Facebook profile—or even the list of friends—can reveal this information. To help your employees keep their identities safe and secret online, work with them to hide as much personal information as possible. Encourage them to use security settings when possible, avoid posting work-related information on personal profiles, and delete any references to common security questions.

Offer Security Training

Employees are constantly bombarded with information about digital security to the point where it's all too easy to tune out. To reinforce the importance of safe behavior, hold regular security training sessions. Each session should deliver information that employees can act on, creating secure passwords or spotting safe Wi-Fi networks, for example. Use the training to help employees understand how their actions can impact the company. Other potential topics include the company's digital security policies, keeping personal information hidden online, how to react after a retail security breach, ways to stay safe on public Internet networks and how to access the server safely from a remote location. During each session, reinforce how important it is that each employee create a secure online identity.

In the age of cloud storage and smartphones, digital security is a crucial consideration for businesses. By helping your employees keep their identities safe on the Internet, you can protect them and your company at the same time.

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