You may not realise it but you could be sitting on a time bomb right now. As more of our daily business switches to working online, you have all of the advantages of working ‘in the cloud’ – however you must take measures to protect your business data and personal information when browsing.
Allowing business or personal data to fall into the wrong hands could expose you to significant financial losses, identity theft or in some cases litigation if a data breach has exposed your client’s information.
Here are 3 simple tips to keep safe while working online, and help you to diffuse these bombs before they go off:
1. Use a Password Randomiser
Using a password randomiser/manager like Lastpass will allow you to easily set random passwords for each site that you use, while safely and securely storing your password vault in encrypted format that you control (and even Lastpass couldn’t crack if they tried).
You can synchronise this vault to your mobile devices so you can access your secure passwords across any device you’re using. If your team install Lastpass too – you can even share the ability to log in to stored websites with staff and contractors (such as a VA) safely without revealing the password for a website.
Get started with Lastpass here.
2. Switch On 2-Step Authentication on your Google Account
Many entrepreneurs use Google everyday, not only for search but for Gmail, Google Docs, and other Google products. Switching on 2-Step Authentication will help protect your Google Account in the event that someone tries to access it illegitimately with your username and password. Each time your account is accessed from a new device, you will be required to provide a ‘second factor’ of authentication (such as a text message to your phone, or randomised code generated from Google’s Authenticator mobile app). If you’re stuck without your phone – you can even set up someone you trust (such as a family member) as a ‘backup’ authenticator to authorise access to your account.
Get started with Google 2-Step Authentication here.
3. Learn how to Spot Spam
Knowing the difference between a scam email and a legitimate one is very important – clicking on the wrong email could expose your machine to malware, or spam your contact list (like the example below). If something looks suspicious, or appears to be from a colleague but you’re not sure – it’s best to check offline with them before clicking.
You can further protect yourself by using Google’s Chrome browser, and Ad Block Plus is an ad/popup blocker that you can install to help reduce the amount of ads and popups that appear while browsing. You can download Adblock Plus for free here.
Below is a scam Google invite – notice it was sent by an unfamiliar server:
This is a legitimate one – notice it was sent via a domain ending in Google.com:
It’s usually only after something goes wrong that we think about the security of the information we store online. Remember that when it comes to your online security, prevention is better than cure, and the best time to take the steps to protect yourself is now.
Do you have any questions about online security? Ask Peter in the comments!