Pass The Word! Keeping A Sensible Eye On Your Online Security

As any dotMailer customer will tell you, the internet has provided marketers with a range of powerful tools they just couldn’t live without. But with so much data now being stored in the cloud, security is something that all marketers need to be constantly aware of. While we take every step to ensure your account remains safe, there are a number of things end users can do as well.

With that in mind, in my role as head of IT at dotDigital, I thought I’d share a few top tips that may help ensure you’ve plugged every vulnerability:

Passwords

When it comes to password, I think Nick Helm put many peoples’ frustrations best when he won the best joke at the Edinburgh Festival 2001 with the line: “I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

The number one rule that you’ve probably had drilled in you a thousand times is use a strong password. It should consist of a good mix of letters and characters of at least EIGHT digits. Last month Hotmail was so fed up for being blamed for poor security they banned weak passwords.

No password is full proof; even the most creative unique passphrase has a possibility of being hacked. It’s key to keep your logins to yourself (as in, not giving your office intern external access to the server who is guaranteed to login in the nearest unsecure web Café they can find) and do not use the same details across all your accounts. You don’t want all your online content going down at the same time!

Encryption: for the documents you don’t want the world to see

This tip applies especially to those companies with fleets of laptops! It sounds complicated but nowadays is really easy to do. Windows 7 comes with Bitlocker and Macs have Firevault as standard. They are both really simple to set up and will keep all your key documents locked away safely.

Never send unencrypted sensitive or important information via email

Often, when you’re out and about, using a free wireless network seems like a godsend. What you don’t think about is who’s watching.

Those who know what they’re doing will use unsecured wireless networks to gain access to unsuspecting businessmen and women on the go, logging into their company accounts. By keeping your email encrypted you’ll be keeping unwanted eyes away!

Here’s a really simple guide for Outlook users to getting those emails under lock and key. And don’t worry, Mac users haven’t been left in the lurch. The easiest way to send secure information is by encrypting a Word document then attaching.

When using web-based applications, make sure they have more than one way of confirming whom you are

When choosing on online application to work from make sure you’re the only one logging in. dotMailer is a perfect example. Alongside the traditional username and password login, dotMailer checks your geographic location. If you log in from a location out of the norm you will be prompted with additional security checks!

Always be sure the site you’re visiting is the one you think it is!

Always look carefully at the URL you are visiting. It is possible (and far too common) for individuals to fake a URL so that it looks genuine. There are plenty of clues that will give you a good idea if the site is legitimate. Misspelt and re-ordered URLs are the most common types of fraud and something to keep an eye on.

When entering sensitive information or signing in make sure the Hypertext Transfer Protocol is secure (https:// instead of the regular http://). This adds a layer of encryption to the connection meaning no one will be able to see your details.

It’s important not to be scare-mongered into irrational actions when it comes to your security and the internet. Keeping to sites you trust and that have been recommended, alongside taking a sensible approach and working within the framework above, will steer you into the clear.

Photo Credit: Mario Castro

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