10 Easy Ways to Keep Your Data Safe

Keeping your passwords, financial, and other personal information safe and protected from outside intruders has long been a priority of businesses, but it’s increasingly critical for consumers and individuals to heed data protection advice and use sound practices to keep your sensitive personal information safe and secure.

1. Use a VPN.

A virtual private network (VPN) is the most secure way to protect your privacy in the digital age. Think of it as a tunnel between your device and the internet. This tunnel is shrouded in armor like SSL securities and other privacy protection features so that no one can track your online activities.

2. Be careful with links and attachments in emails.

Phishing is one of the more common attempts to access an individual’s private information. Fraudsters send emails posing as reputable companies or even people you know to steal personal information. They often use malware, ransomware, and other viruses for the same purpose.

3. Encrypt your email.

Email encryption is most often used by businesses that often transmit sensitive information; however, an increasing number of individuals are using it to protect their privacy. When encryption is enabled, it scrambles the information for anyone except the authorized sender and recipient, so even if a hacker accessed your data, they couldn’t read it.

4. Use anti-malware and anti-virus protection.

Never operate an internet-enabled computer without installing anti-malware and anti-virus software. It’s free or affordable for your computer. To secure mobile devices, use apps designed for the same purpose.

5. Look for privacy indicators on websites.

Whenever you’re asked to input sensitive information, such as phone numbers, addresses, or credit card information, check for indicators that the website is secure. If it’s not, you might as well hand your information to a hacker with a bright red bow on it.

6. Automate software updates.

Contrary to popular belief, software developers don’t wait until they have a perfect product before releasing it to consumers. Rather, they get it as close as they can with the intention of continually working on plugging privacy and security holes and fixing glitches after it’s been launched. They present these fixes in the form of patches and updates.

7. Use strong passwords and change them often.

The average internet user fails in the department of strong passwords that can protect your privacy. According to research, 86 percent of internet account passwords are considered to be “terrible,” because they’re easy to guess. The most common passwords include a variation of 1234567, qwerty, password, abc123, and repeated numbers.

8. Beware of public Wi-Fi.

Hacking on Public Wi-Fi is super easy. Anyone can learn to do it by watching YouTube videos, many of which have millions of views. They might try a “man in the middle” or “evil twin” attack to access information as it travels from your device to the server.

9. Follow the principle of least privilege (POLP).

In other words, limit the number of people who have access to your accounts. Too many administrators increase your risk for human error and leave your devices vulnerable to hackers monitoring the web for such an opportunity.

10. Turn off location data.

Every device has location data that can pinpoint your location. Although the idea is hard to stomach, governments, organizations, or hackers may be watching, and you can prevent their inquiries at a basic level by turning off location services on any device that connects with the internet. Turn off location data.

💡 Security should always be on your mind when online. Whether at a larger organizational level or at an individual level, you should always have at least some way to keep your data safe. And the more data you must protect, the more important the act of data protection becomes. You should be asking yourself how you can keep that data safe and secure, especially if that information can be used against you.