Biting your fingernails.
Leaving the refrigerator door open.
Leaving car windows down during a storm.
These are all examples of bad habits. Almost everyone will admit to having some collection of bad habits, it’s part of the human condition.
Trying to curb these habits is also a healthy part of human nature, but bad habits don’t stop at personal hygiene or vehicle maintenance – there are plenty of technology-centric bad habits that can have disastrous consequences.
We feel confident that you can probably squash that habit of leaving leftover food in the cubicle without our help. However, if you are someone with a few tech-based bad habits this article is for you.
Technology bad habits are rampant in the modern workplace – and the stakes are much higher than spilling a soda on your keyboard. Each year, employee slip-ups that result in data breaches or other cybersecurity events cost US businesses millions.
We’re going to provide a few hand-picked scenarios we see all too often, outline why these are problems and how you might be able to take steps to quit these bad habits.
Not every example will be applicable to your situation, but we guarantee you know someone who could benefit from some of (or all) these tips.
Smartphone Screen Time
The proliferation of smartphone usage created a notable shift in our culture, there’s no debate about that. Smartphones and the related applications have made life much easier, more convenient and improved productivity within the business landscape.
But the new “normal” that the smartphone age brought with it can also be hazardous to a person’s health. There have been many studies on technology addiction that provide warnings about the dangers of too much screen time.
It’s a good idea to passively try to break the habit of being too engrossed with a smartphone. The first thing many of us do when we feel uncomfortable, or anxious or even just bored is to reach into our pocket for that device.
Believe it or not, it’s OK to feel bored occasionally, learn to embrace it! For some more guidance, we need not look further than Continuous Network’s Newsletter:
If you find yourself checking your phone too much at work, set physical boundaries to restrict yourself.
Put it in your desk or another place that adds an extra step to accessing it.
The next time you have downtime, instead of whipping out your device right away, mull over a specific problem or idea on your own – you might be surprised what you.
Data Backup Backlog
We hope, at this point, the notion of backing up your critical data isn’t exactly a lightbulb moment. But it deserves a mention here because a staggering percentage of small businesses still don’t regularly perform critical data backups.
Trust us, the only thing as bad as a data breach is a complete data wipe without a recent backup. While the office is flooding or being evacuated because of a fire is not the right time to scramble to attempt a data backup. The worst part of losing data in a non-hacker-related manner is that it’s easily avoidable.
We won’t go into more detail about what can happen if a system is compromised by ransomware and data has not been recently backed up. This scenario has been well-documented in a previous blog post.
Cloud-based backup solutions are widely available and provide business owners with simple and flexible backup options. Data backups can be automated if you’re having trouble remembering to schedule this critical action.
At the very least, external hard drives can serve as a backup solution in a pinch but if you do business in certain industries like healthcare or finance, you’ll need to check and ensure that storing sensitive data on an external hard drive does not violate and compliance laws.
Multiple Users, One Account
This is something more common with brand-new startups and even some more well-established small to medium-sized businesses. A handful of shared computers, with users all using the same account to log into a computer or network presents a host of security problems. First, in the event of a worst-case scenario like a data breach, it makes identifying the source of the event extremely difficult, if not impossible. most impossible
Next, sharing passwords for accounts goes against just about every rule when it comes to cybersecurity.
Provide users with unique usernames and passwords known only to that specific user. At the very least, create guest accounts if the user will only be temporary.
On that same note – email theft deserves a mention in this segment. Email theft is one of the biggest sources of cybercrime and running a business without email protection is a recipe for disaster. Many of the notable hacks that made headlines recently were a result of stolen credentials from email.
This is where multi-factor authentication (MFA) can be an asset for businesses of all sizes. An article in CSO provided more about why MFA can be an effective security measure to implement:
With two-step verification turned on, an email app requires an extra code when a user logs in. Each time a user enters their login ID and password, the email app texts them a secret code. To gain access to their email, a user must enter this code.
When a hacker tries logging into the user's email account, they are stopped in their tracks because they don't have the secret code.
The problem with two-step verification is that it requires a user to turn it on. Most users are either unaware of this or too lazy to spend 5 minutes to flip the two-step switch on for their email account. As a result, their email accounts are wide open to hackers.
Ignoring Software Updates
Look, we understand that during the workday, you’re busy! When you’re crunching to meet an important deadline or preparing for an important meeting the last thing you want to worry about is updating software, but trust us, this is a major way that hackers exploit vulnerabilities.
Not performing routine updates is a bad habit that could spell disaster for a business. Developers discover vulnerabilities on a regular basis, these patches are sent out to cure these vulnerabilities. It’s an easy way to avoid a data breach – just run them during your lunch break!
If this becomes a chronic problem for employees, one way that management can encourage staff is to use electronic calendar reminders to provide a gentle nudge in the right direction. Or, if an outsourced IT service provider is being leveraged, delegate!
Talk to your partners and request that regular software updates are performed, you can even do them after regular business hours.
Working in an office carries risk – and we’re not talking about stress-related conditions. Poor posture is a huge problem for many office workers and this breaking this bad habit can make you feel better almost instantly. Conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and back-related aliments affect millions of American workers.
Make sure workstations are well-lit and computer monitors are placed at the appropriate eye-level. The head and eyes should be able to look straight ahead to avoid neck strain. Also, taking regular breaks and physically getting up from a desk is a great way to keep the mind and the body fresh.
Alternately, consider a standing desk for all or part of the workday.