What Can You Do to Keep Your Data Private as a Professional?

On January 28, many countries worldwide celebrate Data Privacy Day. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices for businesses and individuals, particularly in social networking.

Data Privacy Day promotes events that support the development and use of technology to increase individual control over personally identifiable information, encourage compliance with privacy laws, and create a forum for invested parties to share ideas that advance data protection and privacy issues.

Although we live in an increasingly digital world, it’s easy to ignore the need for data privacy until something happens that puts us at risk. We all know not to share our passwords, but how many of us have a different password for every site and a safe way of keeping track of them?

Knowledge is power. Know how to protect your data so that scammers and hackers don’t obtain knowledge that should only belong to you. Here are five tips to protect your personal information while online:

1. Limit social media sharing.

It’s tempting to overshare on social media when chatting with friends or making new connections. However, sometimes information casually shared online, like your mother’s maiden name, your alma mater, or your age can be used in security questions for banks and financial institutions. Consider limiting the amount of information in your “About Me” section in social profiles to protect private information.

2. Surf incognito.

If you share a computer and don’t want others to know where you’ve been browsing, do your web surfing in private mode. Most browsers offer a version of private web surfing. However, your ISP can see where you are browsing, even in private mode. So can your employer. And websites can track you through cookies. So even though you can increase your privacy level by surfing incognito, you can’t completely hide your information.

3. Use a VPN.

Using a virtual private network can increase online privacy. A VPN creates a private network from a public connection and masks your IP address, making it more difficult for hackers to breach online privacy and access your personal information when you are using public Wi-Fi.

4. Protect your devices.

Many of us never leave our personal phones unattended, but what about work laptops or devices? Be sure to password protect all devices and consider installing software to locate them—or potentially wipe their data—if they are lost or stolen. It’s also wise to back up all data to a cloud so that you won’t lose your work in case of a catastrophe.

5. Use two-factor identification.

A strong, unique password for every account is a necessity. Using a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane can help you keep track of multiplying passwords in our digital world. When possible, enable two-factor identification for highly sensitive accounts. Two-factor identification requires another item, such as a fingerprint, code, or email, in addition to your password to log in and makes information more secure.

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