These days, more people than ever use technology, including mobile devices, to conduct their professional and personal business. Companies of all sizes place incredibly valuable data in cloud-based repositories, and hackers are constantly testing new ways to gain access.

For these reasons, it’s more important than ever to safeguard vital assets with sound cyber security practices – and to remain vigilant to prevent breaches. Here are 10 cyber security tips that can help you reduce vulnerability:

1. Update Software Regularly

When a new software release comes out, hackers consider it a challenge to identify and exploit security loopholes. Make sure you take the time to complete free software updates so you’ll have protection from the latest threats.

2. Log Off & Close Your Browser

When you finish using a secure application or visiting a website, log off and close your browser, particularly if you leave your device unattended. This prevents others from gaining access to your accounts.

3. Use Strong Passwords

Hackers can crack an all-lowercase letter password in just minutes. Use passwords that contain combinations of upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and special characters to keep hackers from cracking the code.

4. Don’t Use Personal Information In Your Password

Using the name of a child, favourite football team, pet or birthday in a password makes it easy to guess. Cyber thieves can usually access this information from public records or social media, so don’t use it.

5. Hold Employees Accountable

Employees who don’t use good cyber security practices can be the weakest security link at your company. Give staff training on how to reduce vulnerability, and then hold them accountable to make sure they follow best practices.

6. Secure Your Mobile Phone

Many people don’t bother to use a PIN or password to secure their smartphone, and yet they conduct banking and store valuable account information on the device. Make sure you lock your phone in case it falls into the wrong hands.

7. Use The Keystroke Method To Create Secure Passwords

If you need to create a memorable yet secure password, think of a word, then create a stronger password by typing in the key above and to the left of each letter to turn a word like “tinmen!” into “47gh2G!”

8. Disable Email Pictures

If you receive email that contains pictures, the sender may be able to identify whether or not you’ve opened the email. To prevent this, go to the settings of your email platform and disable pictures to preserve your privacy.

9. Don’t Keep A List Of Passwords On Your PC Or Mobile Device

An unencrypted password list defeats the purpose since a hacker who gains access to the list can use it to access all accounts. A password management system is a much better solution.

10. Use A Disposable Email Address

These days, it’s fairly common to be asked to provide an email address by retailers and on account applications. Set up a free address on a service like Gmail or Yahoo and give that out to keep your primary email secure and spam-free.

These cyber security tips can help you avoid a data security breach that can cost you an incredible amount of time, money and hassles. Consider using them to protect your business and personal data from cyber thieves – starting today.