While the internet is one of the most helpful tools for any business owner, it also comes with its fair share of pitfalls. But, there are simple practical steps you can take today that will vastly improve your security when transacting online.
Realise Business advisor David Batson has compiled his top five tips for staying safe online. David has recently joined Realise Business, bringing with him a wealth of experience, including running his own consultancy for over 16 years. He specialises in service orientated firms, consultancy, SEO and digital marketing, sales strategies and business plans. David also spent 5 years in health IT, giving him a thorough understanding of online safety.
David’s Top 5 Tips for Staying Safe Online
1. Proper password management
On any given day, you’re bound to log into a website or application using a password countless times. As such, it’s paramount to ensure your passwords are managed properly.
David recommends choosing specific words and never using the same password on more than one platform. He also suggests utilising password storage applications such as LastPass.
With LastPass, you only need to create one master password to log into the app. Afterwards, you can add all your sites that require passwords into one hub and access them securely from LastPass as it remembers intricate passwords or can automatically generate them on your behalf.
2. Secure your website
When you access different websites, you might notice that some begin with “http” while some are “https”. Business owners will want to have the S on the end – a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) option – as it is secure.
According to David, having an SSL website URL can drastically up your level of protection from hackers. It is almost a mandatory requirement for any site that has paywalls or an online store.
To get a secured SSL website, David says to simply ask your website host to add it as an option. While there may be a cost involved it is worthwhile looking into SSL.
3. Ensure your emails are reliable and safe
Most people have a few email accounts; one for work, one for personal use, perhaps one for banking. It should come as no surprise, then, that emails can be one of the most destructive forms of cyber breaches.
How and who an email account is configured with can severely impact its reliability and security. IT problems can also occur from having an email set up on the same domain as a website.
David believes that setting up an email independent of your website is the way to go. This way, if a malware attack occurs, your website won’t be compromised along with an email.
4. Be watchful when using social media on shared devices
It’s easy to leave your social media logged in on someone else’s device. However, do it on the wrong device and the consequences can be much worse than an embarrassing status update from your friends!
As David points out, leaving your social media accounts logged in on shared devices such as in an internet café can have dire consequences. For example, forgetting to shut down your LinkedIn account gives somebody the chance to destroy your personal brand.
If you sell or get rid of a device, remembering to log out and remove your accounts is also extremely important.
Again, your passwords are at risk and in turn your information, so using an app like LastPass is beneficial to your security.
5. Go incognito
Browsing on devices is fine, but if you’re not sure about the authenticity of what you’re looking at then go through a private mode.
Incognito pages don’t store browser history or web cookies, meaning much less of your information is retained.
Using incognito mode is especially useful when using a shared device like a work or hotel computer as you’re not the only person that has access to it.
To use incognito mode, a right click will bring up the option on most computers, or you can find it in your browser menu. For phones, an option to surf the net privately is equally easy to access in your phone’s settings.
If you would like to work with a professional to help you set up some of these suggested steps, check out our Business Directory where you will find website developers, IT professionals and more.