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Maintaining Privacy Online

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Maintaining Privacy Online

 

The internet can be pretty wild with crooks and gangsters buying and selling information to make a quick buck. This can open you up to fraud and identity theft. It also opens you up to unbeatable offers for diet pills, a long list of people eager to date you, and much more. This is why maintaining privacy online is pretty important.

 

There are lots of resources available that tell you how to keep their private information safe online. This article will look at the extra things small business owners can do.

 

Close the Gate

 

What are the most important things that you can do to protect your home from burglary? Locking your front door and turning on your alarm system probably make the list. But there are other things that you can do, including closing the gate at the bottom of your drive. You don’t even need to lock it - preventing the burglar from getting in is not the point. Just by closing the gate, a burglar is more likely to walk past your house to another one where the gate is open.

 

In other words, burglars are typically opportunistic criminals who go for the easy option. If you make your house a little bit more difficult to access, they will probably walk past. The same principle applies on the internet. It is almost impossible to run a successful business online while keeping your information completely private. Your best option is to take precautions to make it a bit more difficult for the bad guys. This leaves them to concentrate on the easy targets. Unfortunately there are a lot of easy targets out there – don’t be one of them.

 

Private Domain Name

 

If you have a website you will have a domain name and when you register your domain name you have to put in your private details – name, address, etc. By default this information is public and can theoretically be used to build up a profile of you.

 

But you can make your domain name private. Your domain registrar or website hosting company will be able to do this for you for a small fee. When you make your domain name private, your personal information is hidden from public view. This makes your information more secure.

 

Incorporating

 

There are many advantages and disadvantages to setting up an incorporated company for your business. In terms of online privacy, incorporating your company gives you the ability to be more anonymous on the internet. For example, you can use your company name and address rather than your personal name and address when signing up to a new service.

 

General Internet Privacy

 

Fraudsters use social media networks, business forums, association websites and other similar places to gather information about individuals so be careful about how much you divulge. In particular be aware of your “jigsaw” online. You might not enter all of  your personal details in one place but when someone looks at all of your various accounts they can piece the information together to make up a much fuller picture – like a jigsaw.

 

And never send your personal information over the internet unless you are on a secure website. You will know this by looking in the top left of your browser – look for the address of the website you are visiting. A standard website that is not secure will start with http – if you see this it is not safe to send your information. A secure website will start with https.

 

Finally use good password procedures. This means:

 

•         Randomly generated passwords that include letters, numbers and characters

•         Don’t write them down

•         Don’t use the same password on different websites

 

Admittedly this is not easy but password security is one of the most important elements of staying safe online and keeping your information private. There are tools available that help including Dashlane and LastPass.

 

Maintaining your privacy online involves using a combination of common sense and the tools that are available. It takes a little bit of time. But that is a fraction of the time that you would have to spend if your privacy was ever breached.