January 28th is Data Protection Day and with it just round the corner, it’s a good reminder to check that we’re doing everything we can to keep our information safe online. There’s no time to waste when it comes to your data privacy so let’s get straight to it with 4 tips for protecting your information!

In the age of the internet we use our data everyday to log in to social media, send emails, browse websites or even buy those shoes that you really want but know won’t fit on the shelf. But when you own a business it’s not just your personal data you need to protect. You want to be doing everything you can to keep not only your business data secure but also your customers’ data safe too. The aim of Data Privacy Day is to give us a little nudge at the beginning of the year to make sure we’re making safeguarding our data a priority. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic! We’ve got some steps you can take to get started.

What exactly is Data Protection Day?

Data Protection Day (known as “Data Privacy Day” outside Europe) was launched in 2006 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and is now celebrated globally each year on the 28th January. The idea is that it’s a day that raises awareness of everyone’s right to data protection and its main goal has become to educate people on the challenges of keeping their data from prying eyes.

With the GDPR laws that came into place in 2018, you can have more confidence in how businesses are using the data that you give them (contact details, browser cookies etc.). But what can you do about the data you’re not giving away?

Encrypt it with an SSL certificate

When you visit a site, you’re entrusting the owner with your data, especially if you’re buying stuff. And it’s a two-way street – your site visitors trust you with their own information. One way to make sure you’re doing what you need to keep their data safe is with an SSL certificate. Standing for Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is a security protocol that creates an encrypted connection between a web server and a web browser. Adding an SSL certificate to your site authenticates your site’s identity and prevents criminals from getting their hands on information transferred between the two systems.

In fact, SSL is so important that we include it for free with our Web Hosting, Website Builder and WordPress packages!

We’ve covered even more about what an SSL certificate is and what the benefits are of having one.

Two-factor authentication for the win

We’re all taught that having a strong password is the key to securing your accounts. And while it most certainly is, there’s a way you can take your account security up a notch. If two-factor authentication doesn’t ring a bell, chances are you’ve probably already come across it but just didn’t realise it. Typically referred to as 2FA, the concept is that it adds a second layer of authentication when you try logging in to something.

So instead of just typing in your username and password and bob’s your uncle, once you hit that ‘login’ button you get taken to a second step. This usually involves using one of 3 things:

  • Knowledge: It’ll ask for something only you would know like a PIN number or the answer to a security question that you’ve set (the name of your first pet? your mother’s maiden name? etc.).
  • A possession: This uses something that you own that can be used to identify you. This might be a message sent to your smartphone, a code sent to your email address, or maybe sometimes a bank card.
  • Something physical: Many 2FA systems use features on your phone to identify you like a fingerprint scanner, voice recognition or even face recognition.

It’s a crucial security feature that everyone should use which is why we make it super simple for our customers to activate 2FA on their own accounts. Don’t just rely on two-factor authentication though. Still make sure that you choose a super strong password, and with 2FA added on top, you can rest easier knowing you’re doing all you can to keep your account safe.

Do it all with a VPN

When we’re browsing online we don’t often think about who has access to the data that we’re sending between servers. When you’re at home on a private network it’s not so much a problem. But when you’re out and about and using the free public Wi-Fi? That’s where the security risks come into play.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) really does what it says on the tin – it creates a private connection for you to use across your entire network connection. It essentially masks your private data like your IP address, location and search history by encrypting it. That way, when it’s being transmitted between servers, it’s harder to link that data back to you. And if anyone does manage to intercept it, it’s encrypted so they won’t be able to understand it anyway.

VPNs are vital for businesses as they allow employees to connect to business accounts and files securely without the risk of hackers getting access to your data – essential for employees working from home.

Did you know that our CloudNX platform gives you the ability to add a VPN? That way you can manage your Cloud Servers using a secure connection as if you were using the same private network as the one in your office!

Update, update, update!

Software updates don’t just bring new features to the table. However you host your site, you can protect it with something as simple as keeping up to date with the latest software version. And to be honest, security is probably the most important reason you should keep it up to date.

As with any software that’s developed, there’s the possibility of there being bugs. These can give hackers easy ways to break into websites and cause mischief. The good news is that popular website software and platforms like WordPress are regularly updated, especially when a security vulnerability is reported. These updates include security patches that prevent hackers being able to take advantage of any bugs that crop up. In fact, WordPress recently released some security updates of their own.

So, if you’re not using the latest version, that means you’re using a version that likely has known security vulnerabilities and that’s not good is it? And whilst we’re on the topic of WordPress, if you use third-party plugins and themes you need to make sure you keep those updated as well – anything developed by a third-party will be updated separately from the core WordPress software.

Manual updates sounding like a hassle? With options like our WordPress hosting, updates are handled automatically for you, so you can put your feet up and relax knowing that we’ve got it all covered.

At Fasthosts, our top priority is keeping your sites and data safe. Even our data centres are ISO 27001 certified meaning that they follow the latest international standards for security best practices. And we make it simple to manage your own security settings with our easy-to-use Control Panel.

Looking for more security tips and advice? We have a whole section dedicated to security on our blog!