Tips to Keep Your Data Secure

The age of tech and information that we live in has made running a business, sharing images, and shopping online all parts of everyday life for people. Unfortunately, the ease of use comes with a lot of risk. Everything you do online translates into data transfer, and that data is valuable information to people who want to harm you or your business. There is never a 100% foolproof way of protecting your information and preventing it from getting in the wrong hands, but you can take several important steps to improve your computer’s security.
Firewall – A bare necessity for protecting yourself is using a firewall. A firewall is a filter between your computer and the Internet. You can customize what information is filtered. The more important your information, the more robust your firewall should be. For personal use, a firewall is the first line of defense against malware and virus attacks on your computer.
Passwords – Year after year, the most commonly used passwords in the world are “password”, “123456”, “12345678”, and “abc123”. No one using passwords is secure. The main risk of using easy to crack passwords: most people have all of their virtual accounts connected or information stored in multiple places. If someone accesses your email account, they will likely be able to find information that can help them break into your bank account and all your social media accounts. Some tips for secure passwords:
• Use eight or more characters
• Don’t use the same passwords for all your accounts
• Include special characters like “!@#$” in between other numbers or letters in the password.
Always Be Suspicious – It is tough to learn the hard way, but it is vital to always be suspicious on the Internet. When you receive a Facebook friend invitation or an email from an unknown sender, assume it is a potentially malicious attempt at gaining access to your data. While it may be someone you actually know or an email you want to receive, going into it suspicious offers a much smaller chance of clicking a bad link that could download a virus to your computer.
Accessing Virtual Files – Running a business online will usually require you to, at some point, use a virtual file server or virtual desktop to store, access, and share your data remotely. Never store your data solely on your laptop. The service you use should have strong data protection of its own.
Wireless Security – We all operate on WiFi networks now, and while that may be extremely convenient, it is another avenue hackers can use to gain access to your data. Don’t share your network with your neighbors, use all possible forms of security that come with your wireless router, and use a virtual private network (VPN) if you are connected to public WiFi hotspots. Better to be safe than sorry, so do the upfront work to ensure you are always protected when connected to the nearest hotspot.
As long as you stay smart and have some good security measures in place, you should be free to use the Internet as you please.