Maintaining computer and data security is not just a challenge for the larger organisations.
Business owners, the self-employed and sole traders also have to keep a watchful eye on their digital safety.
If you watch, read or listen to the news you may have noticed how the threats from malware, phishing scams and hacking are on the rise.
You may even know a friend or colleague who has had their Facebook account or website hacked.
Use Your Common Sense
There are some simple tips to protect your computer:
- Use strong passwords and keeping them safe
- Browse the web with care (avoiding ‘dodgy’ sites)
- Only use your own external devices or USBs (or ones from a trusted source)
- Use a firewall (Windows 10 already has one built in)
- Have the latest antivirus security software running
- Ensure all your software is up to date
- If something doesn’t ‘feel right’ it probably isn’t. Don’t take the risk.
Check your settings to make sure automatic updates are ‘on’ to keep your machine safe, whether Windows or Mac.
Apple users may think that their computers and devices offer more security than PC alternatives but that does not mean they are infallible.
Whether you are just starting out or an established business owner, build in time and resources to keep you and your technology safe from the wrong hands.
Back Up Your Work
Have you ever been working on a long document or complex spreadsheet and lost the work?
I know people who have and it’s such a frustrating, stressful thing to happen.
The shock can quickly be replaced by relief if you have backup systems in place.
There are many options available today and they can give the hard-working VA, EA or PA simple peace of mind.
External Hard Drive – This is the traditional way of backing up your files. Well-known brands include WD (Western Digital), Seagate, LaCie and SanDisk. They can offer a range of storage capacities, to provide security for even the most data-hungry computer.
Cloud Backup – This is an increasingly popular way of storing files, with information stored securely online. Options include Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox.
Disk Image Backup – With this safety option, software takes an image of the entire hard disk on your computer. It allows you to restore the entire system to another computer, including the operating system, applications and more.
Having something in place means you can recover and retrieve important files in case of a mishap or malevolence.
Maintain Secure Communications
As a VA, EA or PA, the company and clients place their trust in you.
The expectation is for confidentiality to be a given.
As part of your role, you may be asked to handle or exchange sensitive information. Organisations – cautious about security – will often use encryption when sending or receiving communications.
They expect professional assistants to do the same.
This is where an application like Microsoft Outlook with Microsoft 365 comes into its own. When linked up with Microsoft’s Azure information rights management system (included in 365 Business Premium) confident confidentiality is at your fingertips.
It works for both PC and Mac.
Because security is such a big issue today, I created an online Outlook course which covers how to set up and use encryption with ease.
Sometimes it’s only when you lose something that you realise the value of it. That’s true of your data – and your company or client data.
Stay safe. Stay secure.