Data security should be a concern of everyone whether it is online security or offline record keeping. More people are using the Internet and mobile devices in order to take care of personal needs including shopping and keeping track of a schedule. It is no secret that data can be vulnerable to hackers, identity thieves, and others who want to use others’ personal information for nefarious means. This is why it is important to know how to protect personal data.

Choose Passwords Carefully

Whether online or offline, it is very important to have passwords to protect sensitive data. Even documents like term papers or other intellectual property on a computer can be stolen if an unauthorized person gets access to it. Individual documents or entire folders can be password protected in word processing programs, portable document programs, and other programs in which documents are created, read, and/or stored.

Passwords become even more important for online functions such as email, online banking and social networks among other Internet functions. Passwords need to be much more complex than a child’s birthday or the name of a pet. Many who specialize in online security recommend that passwords not only contain at least one capital letter and/or numeric character but also one special character such as an exclamation point (!), dollar sign ($) or ampersand (&). Furthermore, passwords should not be reused for different sites.

Install a Firewall

A firewall can also help prevent a hacker from getting to personal data while a computer is in use. Firewalls should definitely be installed on devices and computers that are used in public areas that share a network. These networks connect devices and an unauthorized user may be able to get into another’s device if a firewall does not block him or her.

Anti-Virus Protection

Anti-virus protection is also very important to protect personal data from being lost or otherwise destroyed. Identity thieves and hackers are not the only threats to data since a virus can be used to destroy information files and even entire hard drives. The best way to prevent this type of loss is to invest in anti-virus protection software that can stop attacks before they occur.

When looking into this type of software, there are a few things to consider. The software has to be compatible with the operating system as well as with the type of device or computer that needs protection. The software should work unobtrusively in the background without slowing down the device and should also be constantly up to date in order to catch the latest viruses that are found daily.

Remote Backup

Another way to protect personal data is to use an online remote backup program. There are many programs that will automatically detect new files on a computer and device and keep them safe in a remote location. This way if anything happens to files such as a major computer crash, any files and information can be retrieved safely and securely.

Take Proactive Measures Online

It is also important to be aware of Internet safety when trying to keep personal data secure. Most reputable websites will use an encryption system to keep their clients’ and users’ information secure. This is especially important for sites in which personal information including names, addresses, financial information, and other sensitive data is stored over a long term. When using these sites, users should look for the HTTPS link rather than the HTTP because the first site is secured with safe encryption technology. Sites that do not have this distinction should not be trusted.

Author Bio: Joshua Turner is a writer who produces articles in relation to the field of business. This article was offer tips on how to protect oneÕs personal data and to encourage further study with a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management.