You’re not a secret agent. You don’t work for the CIA, NSA, FBI, or any other 3-letter agency. Yet every day, it seems you are expected to use the tools and tradecraft of a person with national secrets to keep. This is equally true for everyone from the soccer mom to the owner of a small business.
While the situation is not quite that dire, extreme caution is the new normal. We have to accept the fact that people really are out to do us harm. They have the time, incentive, will, and means to make us pay for lack of vigilance. We lock our doors at night. We put the alarm on every time we park the car. And we don’t trust every Nigerian prince that comes along imploring us for help. Those are the basics, here is the next level of security you need to embrace:
If it happens that most of your business is done in the cloud, you are not alone. In the near future, that will be the case for the majority of businesses. There is a reason why more companies are investing in the cloud and security.
This is how one of the premium providers of cloud security put it:
Not having the right security as you deploy enterprise workloads in the virtual data center and the cloud can lead to security gaps, lower ROI, performance lags, and difficulty achieving compliance. You can secure critical data and applications across your cloud and virtualized environments with effective server protection that maximizes their operational and economic benefits.
There are many practical reasons to beef up your cloud security. But the most basic of those reasons is that the greatest threats to your business come from the cloud. As long as you have physical property, there will be someone trying to break in. You have cloud property of which you may not even be aware. Rest assured, people are trying to break it. Be prepared.
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Your smartphone shouldn’t be that much more secure than your desktop or laptop computers. Yet even inexpensive smartphones have made biometric security available to the masses. Despite the available protections, Consumer Reports revealed that only 36% of smartphone users bothered to use even a 4-digit password. It is a certainty that even fewer are bothering to use a password on a Mac or PC.
Windows 10 puts biometric security front and center. If your new computer doesn’t come with biometrics built in, you can get USB fingerprint scanners from a number of vendors. It doesn’t matter that biometric security can be hacked with enough effort. It is far more secure than almost anything you might be doing right now.
Some say it’s 19. Others, 26. The fact of the matter is no one knows exactly how many passwords the average person has. But all agree that whatever the number, it is far too many. There is a heavy price for password proliferation. There are only three possible outcomes. And they are all bad:
- We reuse the same password for just about everything
- We use weak passwords for just about everything
- We forget our passwords and get locked out of our digital property.
Password managers carry their own sets of challenges and liabilities:
- Single point of failure
- Cross-platform incompatibility
- Costly subscriptions and fees
That said, password managers are the best solution we have at the moment. They allow us to create and remember just one strong password. The password manager does the rest. But password managers are inconvenient at best. Apple product users have something called iCloud Keychain built into the system. But like other systems, it does nothing to help with third-party apps. It works well in the Safari browser. But is lacking elsewhere.
There is no full-proof security solution in this brave new digital world. But you can’t go wrong by using new tools like cloud security, biometric security, and password managers.