It’s safe to say the internet has become an essential part of our daily lives, as we rely on it for communication, work, entertainment and more. However, with increased internet use comes increased risks to our personal and sensitive data. This is why taking the necessary steps to protect your data online is so important. Below, we’ll provide you with some of the top tips to ensure your data stays safe.
A strong password is the first line of defence against cyber-attacks, and it’s important to ensure passwords fit the necessary criteria and are not easy to guess. Additionally, using a different password for each account can prevent one compromised password from leading to multiple data breaches. In combination with strong passwords comes multi-factor authentication. This can include a code sent to your phone or email address, which adds another step to the login process to ensure safety.
Software updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities and protect against new threats, so it’s important to keep your operating system, applications, and antivirus software all up-to-date. With that said, many programs today actually have automatic update settings, so you can easily make sure you’re always running the latest version.
Protecting your data online also means being cautious about what you click on and how much trust you put into external sources. For example, phishing scams can come through emails, text messages, or even websites that trick you into providing personal or sensitive information. These can sometimes be tricky to identify, as the messages may appear to be from a trusted source but, in reality, are actually fraudulent. To avoid phishing scams, be wary of unsolicited emails or messages and ensure you’re not clicking on links or downloading attachments from people you don’t know.
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, encrypts your internet connection and masks your IP address, which ultimately makes it harder for hackers to track your online activity. If you’re ever using a public Wi-Fi network, this is especially important to remember.
By regularly backing up your data to an external hard drive or cloud storage service, you can help protect yourself or your business against data loss due to hardware failure, theft, or any other unexpected event.
Malware can be hidden in seemingly harmless files, such as email attachments, software downloads, or music files. This is why, once again, it’s important to be cautious with what sources you trust. For example, if you don’t know who’s sending you a possible file to download or if something feels off, it’s wise to use your best judgment and avoid these situations.
Because it’s rather easy to search for the legitimacy of a website, always ensure you’re double-checking that a site is legitimate before entering any personal information. This can include credit cards, addresses and more. One quick trick everyone can use when looking at the legitimacy of a website is to look for the padlock icon in the address bar or “https” in the URL, as this will tell you if a website is encrypted and your information is protected.
It’s best to be more cautious when using public computers, like ones in libraries or internet cafes. For example, avoid entering sensitive information and instead use private browsing mode, and log out of all accounts before leaving the computer to ensure your information remains safe.
If you’re running a business and your employees will also have access to sensitive data or information, it’s best to ensure they’re properly trained on how to keep it safe. In addition to ensuring they know the preventive steps to take, it’s also important to equip everyone with information on how to properly react if issues do arise.
Regularly backing up your data allows information to be stored and protected if something happens and you would otherwise lose that data. For example, a system crash or failure could result in the loss of information without regularly backing it up.
By implementing these measures, businesses can reduce their data loss or theft risk and protect their operations and reputation. To learn more about how to protect your data and sensitive information, get a free assessment today.