12 ways to keep your data and identity safe online

How to increase your digital security for your peace of mind

From the recent Facebook data breach to compromised customer data at large companies like FedEx and Delta, personal safety is more relevant than ever.

In fact, it might even appear that our data is under attack!

While you can’t always avoid data security concerns, here are 12 ways to help protect yourself in this fast-moving digital age:

1. Stop sending confidential information digitally.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people email tax documents to their accountant or send a password to a family member in a pinch.

2. Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks.

Anything you send at a coffee shop or airport can be intercepted by someone on the same network. Consider using a VPN (virtual private network) when you are away from home.

3. Secure your text messages.

Whether you use a free app like WhatsApp or a paid Android or iOS solution, there are plenty of end-to-end encryption options, ensuring that only you and the recipient see the messages.

4. Stay updated.

Failure to do so could put you at risk of malware, virus and cybercrime attacks. Make sure your operating system and software are up to date; many devices do it automatically.

5. Worry less about wireless technology.

Protect your wireless network with a password so that no one can access your Wi-Fi network and steal information.

6. Beware of smart email scammers.

Today’s phishing emails may have links to realistic-looking websites. Never give passwords or other confidential information via email, text message, or phone unless you are sure you are talking to the real organization.

7. Lock your laptop.

Make sure your laptop requires a password when it starts up. That way if it gets stolen or prying eyes try to access your device, they will stop before they start.

8. Clear data.

If it’s time to buy a new laptop or smartphone, make sure your data doesn’t get lost. Once you’ve backed up the data you need, use a software program to permanently erase your hard drive.

9. Choose your security questions wisely.

Avoid using common words in your passwords. Period. Google estimated that someone would have a 19.7% success rate answering “pizza” to “What’s your favorite food? Customize the questions or choose more difficult-to-guess questions.

10. Avoid sites other than https.

Https stands for “Secure Socket Layer Hypertext Transfer Protocol” (also known as SSL certificate). Sites without an “s” at the end are not safe if you are asked to make a purchase or submit private / confidential data that could be intercepted.

11. Pay attention to the privacy settings.

Choose who can see the content you post on sites like Facebook and Instagram, and who can see your profile.

Go for the highest level of privacy possible, but be aware that some settings will prevent potential customers from seeing your posts, so find a happy balance that doesn’t sacrifice your social media marketing efforts!

12. Make a backup of your data.

If your device is stolen or compromised, what happens to that job report or your niece’s baby photos? Schedule automatic backups through your operating system or a cloud service.

While even the biggest and brightest companies can be hacked or otherwise attacked, these online security tips can help reduce some of the risks.

Also, if you are hiring a professional web developer to help you with your business, make sure they are aware of current security issues. We create websites with the safety of our customers in mind, and we perform regular security updates for constant peace of mind.

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