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Top Tips to Protect Your Personal and Business Information Online

If you’re like most busy working moms these days, you spend plenty of hours each and every day online. Whether researching information or the latest news for your working or personal life, or updating your social media pages, you are no doubt on your computer, tablet, or smartphone at all hours.

Crime Scene LaptopHowever, while technology and the Internet have brought many benefits to our lives, there are some downsides that need to be considered. One of those is security. With hackers all around the world getting more and more sophisticated in their methods of attack (and more prevalent to boot), it’s important to understand how to protect your vital personal and business information from prying eyes.

Thankfully, there are a number of tips you can follow to stay safe online. From choosing to purchase top internet security software and installing firewalls, to regularly changing your passwords and more, there are plenty of ways you can take back control. Read on for some top tips you can implement today.

Utilize Software

The first step to protecting vital data online is installing software that is designed to prohibit hackers and their viruses from corrupting your systems and gleaning information. All your computers should have antivirus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software installed on them.

Keep in mind that while you may think that a free antivirus application will be enough protection, in actual fact it does pay to purchase quality software too. There is an ever-growing list of threats online and hackers change tactics regularly, so it’s important that you have up-to-date products (covering not just viruses but also malware and spyware) that are updated more often and can therefore provide the latest protection against new scams.

When comparing software options, look for business-grade, professional products that can protect your information from a large range of threats; preferably opt for something that is specifically designed for the type of computer (e.g. Windows or Mac) that you own.

Quality software will typically provide a number of handy extra features. It pays to purchase products that complete custom scans on your computer, and that don’t just work to prevent viruses and other infections, but also completely get rid of them if they’re already present on your devices.

Once you have downloaded your new software, don’t forget that you need to keep it updated as the months and years go by too. If you don’t install signature and database updates on a regular basis, the software won’t be able to protect your gadgets from new threats.

Install Firewalls

In addition to software, you should also ensure that your computer system has a firewall. Firewalls are security systems that are designed to stop hackers and other cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access to your information. They are recommended for all devices that link to the Internet, but in particular are a must for businesses which collect sensitive, and valuable, personal and financial information from customers via Internet-enabled programs.

Install firewalls on your computers so that thieves who try to get access to passwords, credit card numbers, addresses, and other valuable data cannot get access. Firewalls will also work to stop hackers from deleting vital information or from crashing your systems. They can stop a variety of potential issues, from viruses and worms, through to malicious network traffic and other types of computer attacks.

As with the software options on the market, when it comes to firewalls you get what you pay for. You can choose to switch on the firewalls that are automatically installed on your computer’s operating system, but you’ll find that a third-party, paid product typically is much more comprehensive. Furthermore, if you choose a hardware-based firewall, rather than a software one, it won’t be able to be hacked remotely by any criminals, which can be a big plus.

Be Careful with Passwords

Another way that many hackers get access to personal and business information is by guessing passwords. Believe it or not, millions of people around the world still use basic codes (like “password” or “12345”) on their computers, leaving themselves wide open to online attacks.

To prohibit these issues, you need to choose proper passwords that are eight characters in length or more, and that also contain a variety of lower and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Steer well clear of using codes that reference your easily-found personal information, such as your address, birthday, or the name of a close family member or pet.

Once you have ensured that all your passwords are sound, you also need to update them regularly (around every 8-12 weeks is best). If you are working to keep valuable business data safe from prying eyes, you should also set a firm company policy whereby all staff members are required to adhere to strict password guidelines.

 

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