7 Tips to Keep your Online Information Secure
Between your bank, work, and personal social media scrolling, keeping track of all your passwords can be difficult. However, keeping a tight lock on your information, especially at work, is an important task to put at the top of your list.
The RE/MAX Select Realty IT Department has come up with seven easy steps to follow to make sure your personal, professional, and even passed time habits are safe and secure.
Always lock your devices. Laptops and Phones are among the most stolen items in the electronics market. These can be very valuable pieces of equipment, especially in the real-estate field. Odds are a device like this can have information on them from many different clients with full names, kids’ names, phone numbers, emails, interests and hobbies, income amounts, and even social security numbers. All that data can easily be used to exploit clients. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the information you’ve received from your client stays protected.
Use Password Manager Software. A password manager generates, retrieves, and keeps track of long, sometimes crazy, random passwords across countless accounts for you, while also protecting all your vital online information. There are many tools available including Keeper, Dashlane, Bomgar, and more. Our RE/MAX Select Realty IT specialist, George Henry, says he utilizes the tool Last Pass. Henry says, “there are two reasons I would suggest this for our agents. Reason one is the level of security you receive from the passwords that the tools generate. Reason two being you don’t need to remember the passwords! An example of one of their passwords is $e,ug_;`aa:j`T:K_9yvGe]. This password is virtually impossible to crack making it extremely secure.”
Never use the email address that you communicate with your clients on to register or signup for anything. This step is crucial for everyone to remember. With companies being hacked every day, it is likely that your e-mail has fallen into a hacker’s hands. Need more proof? If you have ever received an email from a “Nigerian prince looking to move his millions,” your email address is on a hackers list. It’s also best to try not to open any “phishing” emails that come from strange or unfamiliar addresses.
Turn on Two Factor Authentication for all services that provide it. This is a tool that keeps a record of when and where you’ve logged in. After your account is logged into, your phone will receive a text message with a code that the service will require to be typed into the system if it feels that it may be a fraudulent account access.
Backup your phone contacts and store them on your computer. This step could save you hours, maybe even days, of work. Backing up your contacts assures that you can still do business even if your phone is stolen or lost. PRO TIP: If you have an iPhone, also store your contact on the iCloud. If you use Android, link a google account to your phone and sync those contacts!
Lock your Excel spreadsheets. You may have heard of macros if you’ve worked with Excel long enough. Henry says, “these are good but can potentially be bad. If you share a spreadsheet with someone and it is not locked, they can write a bad macro to the sheet and send it back to you. This macro can be as simple as recording your keystrokes when you go onto a web browser.” You will avoid having anyone add bad macros by locking your spreadsheet before sending it out.
Never input data into forms on the web without first checking to see if the URL is “https.” The “s” at the end of the “http” that you see in the address bar of your web browser means “secure.” If the URL is not “https” then the data that you send will not be encrypted. This means that it can be read by anyone that may intercept it. Many sites even use disclaimers that make you liable for the potential issues that may arise by using their services.
With these simple steps you’ll be able to begin and continue to protect your valuable information online.