Cybersecurity 101: What is Cyber Hygiene?

Posted by Zosi Team

While cyberattacks take different forms, they all rely on human error to gain entry to your company’s system. Luckily, there are routines and steps we can follow to prevent this. These practices are called cyber hygiene. Just like personal hygiene habits help keep us healthy, cyber hygiene practices help protect the health and security of computer systems. This blog will walk you through some of the most prevalent cyber hygiene practices.

Cyber Hygiene Best Practices

Create Strong Passwords

One of the most important cyber hygiene practices is using strong passwords. If hackers get your login credentials, they have access to everything you do, along with the opportunity to get more credentials and more access. This puts confidential company files, trade secrets, and customer data at serious risk. Data breaches like these have an incredibly high cost for companies both financially and in the loss of consumer and market trust.

The strongest passwords are at least 12 characters long, although even longer is better, and include a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. But how do you come up with a strong password that you can remember? Here are a couple of methods to try.

Choose four to six random, unrelated words. Make sure they’re not related to you. Don’t use pet or street names.
Make a mental image with the words to make them easier to remember. Now mix in some symbols and numbers, and capitalize the same letter of every word – in this case, the third letter. You have a very strong password that’s easy to remember.
Alternatively, use the sentence method. Think of the first line of your favorite song. Or make up a sentence that you can remember. Now, take the first letter of each word. Mix in upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Again, a strong password that’s easy to remember. Choosing a strong password is just the first step in good password management. Most companies require you to change your password every 60-90 days.
And finally, use a different password for every account you have.

Common Cyber Hygiene Practices

Passwords are a critical defense against hacking, but other cyber hygiene routines provide important protection as well. They include:

Keep your software updated. Software updates often include patches to prevent hackers from taking advantage of bugs to access your system.
Back up your work regularly. Check with your IT department to find out more about how your company’s data is backed up.
Keep your hard drive clean and organized. Set up a file structure that makes it easy to find documents. Make sure that you aren’t storing files and data in multiple places. And take time annually to look through records and delete or archive outdated files.
Keep your work and personal email separate, and don’t access your personal social media on work devices if possible.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Cyber hygiene also means being aware of risks in your surroundings. If you are working remotely, don’t connect through unsecured public Wi-Fi unless you are using a VPN and encrypting data. Lock away important documents, especially those with confidential data, when you’re not using them, or if you step away from your desk.


As online attacks grow more prevalent, it’s critical that we develop good cyber hygiene routines to protect against them. Help your employees understand cybersecurity threats, how they occur, and how to prevent them with Zosi’s cybersecurity training.

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