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12 ways to keep your data and identity safe online

How to boost your digital security for peace of mind

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

In fact, it might even feel like our data is under attack!

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

1. Stop sending sensitive information digitally.

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

2. Beware of public Wi-Fi networks.

Anything you send to a coffee shop or airport can be intercepted by someone on the same network. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when you’re away from home.

3. Secure your texts.

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 your messages.

4. Stay up to date.

If you don’t, you could be 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 the wireless connection.

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

6. Beware of sneaky email scammers.

Today’s phishing emails can contain links that lead to realistic-looking websites. Never give out passwords or other sensitive information over email, text, or phone unless you’re sure you’re talking to the real organization.

7. Lock your laptop.

Make sure your laptop requires a password when it starts up. That way, if it’s stolen or praying eyes try to access your device, they’ll stop before they start.

8. Clear data.

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

9. Choose security issues wisely.

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

10. Avoid non-https sites.

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

11. Pay attention to privacy settings.

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

Opt for the highest level of privacy possible, but keep in mind 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. Back up your data.

If your device is stolen or compromised, what happens to that work 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 you reduce some of the risks.

Also, if you’re hiring a professional web developer to help you with your business, make sure they’re aware of current security issues. We build websites with our customers’ security in mind and make regular security updates for your ongoing peace of mind.

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