Keep Your Office Technology Safe

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by Penny Johnson, Ph.D.

You have a password on your phone, you log in to your email, but are you really keeping your technology secure at work? Because administrative professionals are the hub of the office, we have access to, and use, a lot of technology. Follow these easy steps for premium computer security!

  1. Make a list.

    • Identify all hardware devices such as your desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, printers, copiers, or any other devices that are connected at your workplace. Even our office doors ask for an ID!
    • Identify all software you use, which can be a lot! First, categorize how you access the software. For example, some are on your laptop, others are on the web. Under each category, list each software program or app as you use it. Try to add to your list each day, week, month, and quarter.
    • Next to each item on your list, identify how the technology interacts with you: Does it ask for a login, username, password, or code?

All of this information will help you identify the security measures you are already taking so you can address any areas that need improvement.

  1. What does “normal” look like?

Make note of what normally happens when you start up/log in so when something looks wrong, you’ll be alerted to the fraud. Consider taking screen snips of login pages, either housing hard copies in a binder, or cataloging in a document.

  1. Plan!

If you are the victim of a virus or hack, do you know what to do? Create a plan and review it with your help desk staff to make sure it includes all necessary procedures. Computer security risks happen at all levels so make sure your plan addresses small incidents (email phishing) to big problems (ransomed PC).

  1. Educate others.

Make sure your coworkers are accountable and help them be aware of good computer security measures so you are ready as a team. Some ideas might include sending quarterly reminders to change passwords or including a “security tip” in company newsletters.

  1. Don’t wait…

Having a plan is a good first step, but it must work when needed. Test your plan ahead of time so that you are ready when you need to be.


PennyJohnsonmadisonclg_logo_hrz_bwPenny Johnson is an instructor in the Administrative Professional program at Madison Area Technical College. Computer security is one of the subjects taught in her Information Technology Concepts course.

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