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What Should Be on Your Computer Security Checklist?

Computer maintenance is important if you intend to get your work done efficiently and help your company operate smoothly. Sure, security and maintenance may sound like a lot of work but they don’t need to be. And they’re critical to your company’s bottom-line. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps and you’ll have done your part to keep out any hackers, viruses, and various other cyber threats. Think of it as a simple checklist for computer security. Here’s what should be on it:

1. Get or Update Your Software

Depending on what you do – take courses, work a job, maybe both – you may have access to free security software. If this is available, take advantage but also make sure it’s from a source you know is legitimate; scams come in all sorts of familiar looking packages. Software like this may not be cheap, but it could save you thousands of dollars and lots of headaches. It can protect your computer against viruses, malware, spyware, and more. If you can’t find one you can afford, check online to see if any legitimate providers offer a free version or newly released updates of their software.

2. Rotate Your Passwords

Maybe it’s every few months, maybe it’s every day. Whatever it is, make sure it’s consistent. Keep a regular password rotation going to keep all your accounts and password-protected data safe. Sometimes your operating system will prompt you to do this. If it does, never miss a deadline to update your password. Don’t make it a recognizable name or phrase, but do include plenty of uppercase and lowercase letters along with symbols and numbers. To avoid forgetting or confusing your passwords, check out free password manager services. These encrypted services can store your passwords, sync them on your devices, and even audit your password behavior. Like security software, make sure it’s a trusted service.

3. Clear Private Data

When you surf the web, the browser you use may store information from the sites you visit. These are called cookies. Cookies aren’t all bad, but they could record your most recent site visits or even your login information. You don’t want this information to be vulnerable. Simply open your browser settings and clear your cache. You should do this especially if you share your computer with friends, family, or coworkers. Keep this practice on rotation, just like with your passwords. Weekly, even daily, depending on the nature of your data, is good practice.

4. Examine Links and Downloads

Malware and phishing scams can come in the form of the most innocent-looking email or webpage. They’re designed to be that way. The hope is that you’ll click or download them, and get your private information snatched up. Before you click anything, examine the link URL. Make sure it looks legitimate and you recognize the address. Never open or click on anything from someone you don’t know or aren’t expecting.

5. Count Your Devices and Drives

Do you have that USB drive you plugged in earlier? Are all the devices you connected to your computer accounted for? Did you leave any screens up? If so, are they password protected? Before you leave your desk or workspace, make sure you bring out any devices you brought in. On the off chance you leave something behind, make sure it has at least one or two layers of security, enough to keep it secure while you track it down.


A simple but effective computer checklist can make a big difference when it comes to cybersecurity. If you want to learn more about information technology and computer security, Charter College might be just the place for you. With degree and certificate programs in IT and computer systems, Charter College can prepare you for an entry-level job in computers. Request more information today.