Cyber Hygiene – It’s a Real Thing

In articles and presentations on Cybersecurity, it’s not uncommon to come across the term “Cyber Hygiene.” By default, it makes me think of human hygiene. At a detail or task level, there really isn’t much of a comparison. But think about the topic more broadly: If we take care of ourselves physically, we are likely to enjoy better health. Similarly, if you take good care of your IT systems, they will be apt to perform better – and you will be less likely to fall victim to a Cybersecurity breach.

    What can you do to improve your cyber hygiene? Exercising these action items will get you off to a great start:
  • Make sure that you have an up to date inventory of your IT assets (i.e. hardware, software and data).
  • Regularly patch and update your IT assets.
  • Regularly backup your data; test your backup process to ensure it is working as intended.
  • Limit the number of user accounts that have administrator privileges on your IT systems.
  • Implement an antivirus solution and make sure you receive regularly updated virus definitions.
  • Use a firewall to protect your system.

Cybersecurity experts often talk about situations of vulnerability where a fix, that is, a patch, has been released. But most companies don’t regularly apply the necessary updates or patches, or mitigate their vulnerabilities in any other way. Hackers have been known to exploit vulnerabilities, especially those where security measures aren't taken or are more than a decade old. When I speak to clients or conferences about Cybersecurity, I point out that hackers are a lazy bunch. They attack the weak, not the strong. Improving your Cyber Hygiene will help you avoid becoming such a target.

HBK can help you with Cyber Hygiene. Call me at 330-758-8613 or email me at with your questions and concerns.

About the Author(s)
Bill Heaven is a Senior Manager in HBK’s Information Technology (IT) Department and works out of the firm’s corporate office in Youngstown, Ohio. He specializes in cyber security, IT security, external IT audit, internal IT audit, IT consulting, software Development, IT governance, PCI-DSS, supply chain, system implementations and e-Commerce and has worked for a wide range of industries, including the Public Accounting field. Bill is a certified public accountant, a certified information system auditor, and a certified supply chain professional. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Computer Science from Kent State University. Bill is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), the Information System Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the Canfield Chapter of Rotary International.
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