"Tech Resolutions" are simple: they're tech-based habits, some that you need to start doing, some need to be stopped, that will help you on a day-to-day basis when using your work or personal tech. Most find these pretty easy - at least compared with resolutions like "drink less coffee". Because, come on.... COFFEE! So we’re confident that these simple tips and changes are worth your time and will help you kick-start your year - not to mention the protection of your investments!




Don’t email confidential information unless it’s password protected

WHY? Sending confidential or private information via unencrypted email can expose that information to the wrong people.  When you send an email, you don’t necessarily know if the message will be accessible on the way to the recipient, or if it’s actually going to the wrong recipient.  Putting a password on PDFs, or using only company-approved, business-grade file-sharing applications (NOT consumer-grade versions of file sync and sharing cloud applications like free Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc.) will help safe-guard confidential data.


“Fwd: Spam” Stop forwarding or replying to spam & suspicious emails - just delete!

WHY? You would be a hero to your suppliers, customers, co-workers, friends, and your IT team because you protected them from the spread of the virus or malware in the email.  True, they may never know you saved them - making you an unsung hero; but those are the best kind!


Keep Passwords Different

WHY? If your account on a social media or e-commerce site (or even if you’ve just purchased something once on that site) gets hacked – and you’ve used the SAME password in other places – you can pretty much bet hackers are going to use that password to access every other account you have with that password. From there, it’s a short road before they’ll find enough information to hack ALL of your accounts and access important data.

So what does a “strong” password mean?

  • A good password should be at least eight characters long (or longer!) and have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that are hard to guess or consider moving to a Pass Phrase ex OnlineS3cur!tyIsK3y
  • Don’t use dictionary words with proper capitalization because they’re easy to guess (like Password123#). Remember, hackers have sophisticated password-hacking software that will run 24/7/365.


Stay off Your personal Social Media when using a work device

WHY? Over 600,000 Social Media accounts are hacked every day.  If you’re using a company device to access a compromised account, you’re opening up a door to a hacker who may then get into your company’s network. Check your personal accounts on YOUR personal device.


Stop Using Public Wi-Fi Without Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

WHY? It’s not uncommon for hackers to set up fake versions of public WiFi to try and get you to connect to THEIR WiFi instead of the legitimate public one being made available to you.  Then, they know everything you do and every password you type.

The best way to make sure you are protected when using public WiFi is to make sure that you’re using a VPN (Virtual Private Network).  If you have already have a VPN but need a refresher about using it, let us know at support@birmingham.ca.


 Marie-Kondo your tech: De-clutter your device or computer with apps, plugins and programs you don’t use

WHY? The more apps, plugins and programs that are on your device or computer, the less space it has and the slower it can run.  De-cluttering can help your device run quicker because it’ll clear unused memory.  Plus, imagine how clean and organized it’ll be.


 Detox your Inbox: Unsubscribe from emails you don't read

WHY? Imagine opening your inbox and not having to delete all the emails with special deals, offers etc. that you’d be receiving from businesses and places that you used to look at.  Not only would it feel amazing, it would also make it easier to spot spam and fake emails that could potentially harm your computer.


 Restart your computer every day (Macs, too!)

WHY? Overall, restarting your computer every day can speed up its performance! It also flushes the memory of different programs or processes that are running in the background (which can slow your computer down), corrects software glitches and can solve internet and Bluetooth connection issues.


 Smart Connection: Use a network cable instead of Wi-Fi

WHY? A wired connection is more secure than WiFi but more importantly, it’s much more stable.  Like any radio signal WiFi travels through the air and can susceptible interference.  Just like static is troublesome for cell phones and radio, “static” on WiFi can cause dropped connection and painfully slow speed.  Besides, even the slowest wired connection is just plain faster than WiFi – there’s no getting around that fact!


 Think before you click on email or web links

WHY? Often these e-mails look 100% legitimate and show up in the form of a PDF (scanned document) or a UPS or FedEx tracking number, bank letter, Facebook alert, bank notification, etc. That’s what makes these so dangerous – they LOOK exactly like a legitimate e-mail.

How can you tell a phishing e-mail from a legitimate one? Here are a few telltale signs:

  • Look at the email address; is it even a legitimate email? Is it actually from a contact you know? Is the company name spelled correctly?
  • Hover over the URL in the e-mail (but DON’T CLICK!) to see the ACTUAL website you’ll be directed to. If there’s a mismatched or suspicious URL, delete the e-mail immediately. In fact, it’s a good practice to just go to the site direct (typing it into your browser) rather than clicking on the link to get to a particular site.
  • Does the email contain poor grammar and spelling errors?
  • Another warning sign is that the e-mail is asking you to “verify” or “validate” your login or asking for personal information. Why would your bank need you to verify your account number? They should already have that information.
  • And finally, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.


 Turn on 2-Factor Authentication everywhere possible

WHY? “2FA” is an extra layer of security used to make sure that people trying to gain access to an online account are who they say they are.  Instead of gaining access immediately, they will be required to verify who they are in a different way than just with their username and password. So, even if your password is stolen or your phone is lost, the chances of a someone else having your second-factor information is highly unlikely.

For an extra level of security, don’t use a text message for 2FA because text messages are not secure.  Best to use an “authenticator app” like Authy or Google Authenticator.


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WHY?  We provide "sweet" cyber security tips that are geared to help you and your team can be cyber safe online and at work. Let us help you kick start your year - sign up today!