Your personal information is woven into the internet. You have bit and pieces of your story hiding in the pages of Facebook, and your family pictures saved on DropBox. You’ve entered your credit card information online countless times to order presents for Christmas. The reality, if you’re not making sure that those accounts are secure, you could be exposing yourself to a potential minefield of information loss due to hackers.
Hackers love these web-based services, because it makes getting to your personal information so much easier. With the average employee using 36 cloud services at work, it’s time to make sure these accounts are as secure as possible. Of course there’s no magical formula to cyber security protection, but covering the basics and easy steps to protection is a positive step in the right direction.
These are nine suggestions that we suggest on the way to securing your information.
Delete Accounts You’re Not Using
It sounds easy enough, but you’d be surprised how many online accounts are forgotten or logged into just once. Even worse, many of these accounts are signed up with typical passwords and usernames that are used on more secured websites i.e. banking portals. A great way to continue online account safety is to simply delete accounts that you’re not using anymore.
Add Two-Factor Authentication
The idea of two-factor authentication is simple. Your password is your one-factor, and then you add another layer to security, this is the second factor. This second factor comes in varieties of other passwords, keycodes, second emails and even second-account access for multiple users [like on Facebook]. Google does a great job offering multiple opportunities for two-factor authentication. Check it out below. These all form into a two-step process that ultimately makes your accounts more secure.
Check Your Account Activity
Wouldn’t it be great to know when you, your relatives and criminals logged into your accounts from other sources? This is a feature that’s been around for a time, and is very useful in making sure that you’ve logged out of all your online accounts when accessing on public computers. Again, Google offers the ability to look at these ‘online’ devices under your user settings, and DropBox sends notification emails, when logged in by a different IP address. Just be careful about potential phishing emails, and check out our guide to protect yourself against getting phished.
Make Sure Your Antivirus and Systems are Up-to-Date
This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to make sure you’re protected online. Set-up system alerts on your personal devices, so you never miss an update. These updates are important, because every new one has the potential of patching a vulnerability in the software that a recent hacker has found entrance.
Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
We love the idea of installing a VPN, because it’s one the best ways to protect yourself anytime, even when using public wi-fi. A VPN encrypts your information as it passes between your device and the server, making it that much harder for a hacker to get to your personal information.
Add Pin Locks Whenever Possible
Many devices today offer the ability to add a pin lock. This gives first-line security to all personal devices, including computers, mobile phones and tablets, because it requires a 4-5 basic code to login into the device. It’s easy, so just do it.
Make Superb Passwords
You’ve heard this tale before. A weak password isn’t a good password. A good password incorporates several symbols, upper and lower case letters, and it’s not associated with your personal name. We know it’s hard to brainstorm a strong password for better security, but this again is one of the simplest and most important security features for securing your online information. In addition, be better secured by using different passwords for different websites. When you use the same password for Facebook and your online banking, this gives easy access to cyber criminals. They have part of the puzzle. Try generating a random secured password with this website.
Use Password Protected Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is a little unknown, and significant hole in your data security. When employees connect to public wi-fi, they’re opening business data to potential theft. A malicious criminal could be sitting on the connection between the network and your computer, thus intercepting information as it passes through. We all use it, so when accessing public wi-fi, try using a password protected network always.
Create Multiple E-mail Address
Just like you should make multiple passwords for multiple websites, you should do the same with e-mail. If one website is breached, and the data is spilled to the Dark Web, criminals now have the e-mail associated with that account. They can then take that e-mail to login into your other important accounts. Many security experts use different email addresses for multiple reasons, and you should also.
After these nine points, we hope you’re on a path to better secure online accounts. With employees constantly bypassing security protocols and looking for loopholes to maximize efficiency, where these nine points are important, they might not be enough. Employee monitoring by Teramind offers another large layer of protection against negligent employees. By having a monitoring system in place, managers can look for potential threats before they strike – like connecting to those unsecured public wi-fi networks.