Keeping your digital life secure

Keeping your data safe and secure online has been a headache for all of us at some point in our digital lives. Whether we have had our social media accounts hacked, or lost a phone (and consequently all the photos from the previous few years), most of us have experienced the frustrations associated with employing a lack of either physical or online security.

Generally, keeping your data safe has become a much easier endeavour with each passing year, but nonetheless, we are all capable of leaving ourselves open to some areas of exploitation. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to keep these risks low.

Keeping your digital footprint private

If you are travelling to a country that has a less than stellar record when it comes to online privacy, or you are working with particularly sensitive data, a VPN is a no-brainer. VPN’s route your encrypted internet traffic through servers in the country of your choice, effectively hiding the content and keeping your data safe from prying eyes. There are many different VPN solutions but by far the easiest to use come in the form of Chrome VPN extensions, that work directly in your Google Chrome browser. Simply install the extension, and you are ready to go.

Backing up your memories

Keeping your photos and videos safe used to be a case of downloading them onto your computer once you got home, and perhaps backing them up to an external hard drive. If you lost your phone or your computer, you lost your family photo album too. Now, with the likes of iPhoto on Apple devices, or Google Photos, your pictures and videos can be backed-up and stored automatically wherever you are. If you are worried about burning through your data allowance, there are options within these apps to only allow backups to be made when you are on Wifi and charging your device. Once it is all set up, you can rest easy in the knowledge that if the worst is to happen, at least you won’t be losing your precious memories along with your device.

Do you need an anti-virus these days?

Go back ten or fifteen years, and venturing online without an anti-virus program was akin to playing with fire. Sooner or later, you were going to get burnt. Apple products were an anomaly in this department though, as the operating systems that Apple devices run on were (and still are) far more secure than their rivals. Fast forward to today, and even the previous ‘wild west’ of Windows operating systems have built-in virus protection, while Android, IOS and OSX have all moved to the ‘walled garden’ approach for installing apps. Getting a virus or installing malware from within the Apple Store or even Android’s Play Store is extremely unlikely, and when the occasional rogue app is found, it is usually quashed by the ‘powers that be’ extremely quickly. As such, anti-virus and anti-malware apps are not needed. Built-in security to all modern operating systems has made the need for them redundant unless you are modifying or ‘jail-breaking’ your device, which will obviously leave you a little more vulnerable to the nefarious applications that reside outside the respective app stores.

Once you have these three areas addressed, there is very little to worry about when it comes to using online services. Your digital footprint can be hidden, your photos and videos safely backed up, and nasty viruses are kept at bay. While you are never 100% secure with anything you do online, taking these basic steps will help keep you and your data as safe as possible, giving you peace of mind, and the ability to work and play to your heart’s content.