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Before you leave the office for a holiday vacation take these 6 practical steps to secure your Google Apps account , messages and files: Change passwords, Check device passcode settings, Take the new Google Apps security walk through, shutdown the office network. While on Vacation and away, be alert to fake "phishing" scams related to work.
1. 'Tis the season to change your Password
The end of the year is a great time to review all of your accounts and passwords. Take a new approach to passwords by creating one that's more complex than the standard WORD + NUMBER.
Some Ideas to Create a Strong Password:
- First Letter of words in a phrase. Rt(2015)GFWHLG -- Read The (2015) Google for Work Holiday Lockdown Guide
- Reinforce New Year's Resolutions. 10#byMar.noSmo -- lose 10 pounds by March, no smoking
2. Set up 2-Factor Authentication for your Google for Work Accounts
2 Factor Authentication adds an additional layer of security to your Google Apps account and ensures a more protected account. Setup is easy and takes just a few minutes. At times it may seem inconvenient to some users but the additional security is well worth it!
Set up Google's 2-Factor Authentication here: https://accounts.google.com/b/0/SmsAuthSettings
3. Check Mobile Device Passcodes and times
According to Consumer Reports only 36% of users have a passcode on their mobile devices. Another Report claims that over 10 million devices were lost or stolen last year! That's irresponsible - if your device is not protected, do it now in the Settings section.
All users should check the time to lock (never exceed 5 minutes - shorter times are better) Also check your PC screensaver lock time.
4. Take The Google Apps Account Security Check-up.
The Google for Work security team launched the Google Apps security wizard for all Google for Work accounts. The security wizard guides users through steps they can take to adjust security features. Some of the features are set by the Google Apps Administrator but it's a shared responsibility and you, the user, are in control.
Access the Google Apps Security wizard at g.co/accountcheckup.
It's Quick and easy to make your account more secure using this new tool for Google Apps users.
5. Backups, Shutdowns & Reboots for Everything in the Office.
Give your office PC a rest this holiday season and shut it down to prevent any unauthorized access. If you're running desktop backup software, make sure to do a manual backup before you leave & shutdown. For added data protection unplug your PC and devices to protect against electrical surges or power outages.
Apply the same "Shutdown or Reboot" for all of the devices on your network. Obviously the network that's most secure is the one that's unplugged - unplugging your network devices, router and Wi-fi is an excellent way to guarantee safety over the long holiday breaks.
6. Be Alert and use Common Sense while on Vacation
It's easy to let our guard down when we're on vacation or away from a formal environment. The holidays are also primetime for criminals so keep on guard against phishing scams and other "honey pot" traps to try and steal your personal and work data.
Common Travel Phishing Scams
- Work Document Share Email (see graphic)
- "Free Airport WiFi" - access point Scam.
In the Work document share Scam you receive an email about a shared document waiting for you. When you click-through you're presented with a login to your account for access. Look closely at emails and pages that ask for account information. Google has only one login page, if it looks different, question it and look at the specific web address (URL) that shows in your web browser.
The "Free WiFi Scam" can be less obvious and can be found at busy airports as well as local coffee shops - anywhere there's WiFi. In this scam you see an access point called "Free WiFi" or similarly named network without the need for a password. You connect and it works! But unbeknownst to you - everything you type is being captured by the criminal sitting across from you. He's providing you pass-through service as he collects the information. A few days later your identity is stolen without a trace.
Never use an untrusted WiFi network. Legitimate public access networks will, at the least, have a proper login page. Always ask the retail location you are at for the correct WiFi network and connect to that network only, never guess between "Free WiFi" and "Airport Free WiFi" again!
BONUS: 3 QUICK HOLIDAY SECURITY TIPS FOR GOOGLE APPS ADMINS: Check these 3 things before you leave for vacation: 1) Is SSL turned on? 2) Are everyone's passwords rated "Strong"? 3) Are all Google Apps Alerts turned on? If you need assistance in reviewing these and performing a comprehensive Google Apps Security audit, please contact Coolhead Tech to speak with a Google Apps Certified Administrator