3 Easy Tips to Protect Online Data

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We all agree, the internet provides amazing tools: tons of information, enhanced business efficiency, and great ways to keep up and communicate with people. But, the wrong people can turn those tools into weapons.

Hackers and cybercriminals are now better than ever at manipulating and stealing online data. It’s a shame that they are among the best at keeping up with technological advancements. The warning signs are out there, but there are simple ways to increase protection from web threats.

Here are three easy ways to protect your business’s shared and online data:

1.  Protect your passwords

Passwords may be becoming past-words, as many companies are developing security alternatives to passwords. But for now, you are likely using passwords to access the majority of your data. Obtaining a password is the easiest way for cybercriminals to break in and access all your files and private data. An easy-to-guess password, like your first name, can lead you to a heap of trouble.

So, use a strong, hard-to-guess password, and be careful about who you share it with and who sees it. Microsoft gives great tips on password security.

2. Make sure you can recover

Cloud-based services for storing and sharing files can be great, but you don’t want to count on them entirely. Would you want yourself, or someone else to be ultimately responsible for the continued existence of your files? If you store files on a service like Google Drive or Dropbox, and don’t back them up somewhere else you have access, you are essentially giving up that power. If the web service’s site is breached or your files are accessed by a hacker and deleted or stolen, you’ve lost access to those files.

In this article from ITWorld, a man who frequently uses these cloud storage services tells a horrific story about one company that incorrectly gave access to his account to people he hadn’t met or approved. Those who’d received access to the man’s files didn’t recognize them and simply deleted them. Although not the victim’s fault, this dilemna could have been alleviated with proper backups. Backing up your files ensures that if a disaster like this happens, you’ll still have your important stuff saved elsewhere.

3. Guard your social life

Social networking is not as secure as you may think. Sure your Friends and Connections all seem trustworthy, but go back and take a look.

Have you actually met all of these people?

Do you know for a fact they exist?

A team of security testers put this idea of trust to the test. They created a fake social media profile, posing as a job-seeking 28-year-old female MIT graduate, to infiltrate a US government agency that specializes in cybersecurity. The story from NetworkWorld explains how the team used the fake profile to inquire about a job at the agency and make social connections to get closer to those employed there. The false account then sent out infected holiday cards to those employees and gained access to the agency’s documents, passwords, and even source code.

You don’t need to suspect and ignore every new person you comes across on social networks, but be mindful that you may not really know who some people are, or what their intentions are. If a cybercriminal gains your trust, his/her job has become that much easier.  Clicking on or accepting items from someone you don’t know personally could turn out to be a much larger mistake than you thought.

Online privacy and security are now more important than ever.  We’ve heard and read horror stories about losing files or identity theft, and online criminals are only getting more intelligent and persistent. If you’re worried about your online security and would like to know more ways to secure your files, or how we can help backup and protect online data, fill out a contact form or give us a call today. We’re here to make your work environment a more safe and secure place.