As an admin, a large part of your day is likely spent on an internet-connected device, be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. While we’ve certainly come a long way from the days of mimeograph machines and typewriters, modern technology isn’t without its price: namely, privacy and security concerns.
Clicking on the wrong link or attachment can open you, your executive, and possibly your entire company up to malware, hacking attempts, or worse. Entering personal information into a compromised website can capture your user name and password, making it easy for someone to access private information, including sensitive financial data and bank accounts. Even failing to read the terms of service agreement for a new site can have serious consequences.
Yes, it’s a scary world out there, but luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help you ensure your privacy and safety online. Here are some of our favorites.
1. DuckDuckGo Imagine you’re searching for customized t-shirts for your team’s company picnic. You check out several different companies to get the best price and quality, make your choice, and place your order.
The next day, you fire up the internet to get to work, and it seems like every page you see has an ad for customized t-shirts. Is your computer reading your mind?
Not exactly – but your browser is storing your search history, sometimes even if you’re in private browsing mode. This allows your browser to target ads directly to you, effectively monetizing your search history.
Not a huge fan of your computer spying on you? Join the club! DuckDuckGo was invented for just that reason. The browser doesn’t track you, store or sell your search history, or target you with ads.
2. Disconnect.me Another privacy-protecting tool, disconnect.me offers protection against tracking. Think of it as someone walking behind you, sweeping up your digital footprints as you navigate the web so no one can follow your tracks.
Since your device won’t be bogged down with trackers, it will perform better and faster, and may even extend your battery life. All your traffic is encrypted, which means that your private information is protected. You can even mask your location through a private VPN.
Disconnect.me has a basic free version that protects a single web browser, but the service is well-worth the $24.99 lifetime fee for the pro version, especially if your company regularly deals in sensitive information.
3. Terms of Service; Didn’t Read Administrative professionals are busy. Most of us don’t have time to dig through every TOS disclosure for every site we use. But by clicking “I Agree” without knowing the facts, we’re setting ourselves up for some not-so-pleasant surprises.
Most of us use Twitter, Amazon, and Netflix, but very few of us know that:
- Twitter’s TOS allows them to retain all rights to content on a deleted account.
- Amazon can change their terms at any time, for any reason, without notifying you.
- Netflix can disclose your personal information.
By not reading the TOS, we agreed to all of the above, and probably more terrifying stuff, as well!
Terms of Service; Didn’t Read combs through all the legalese for you, giving each site a rating from Class A (very good) to Class E (very bad). It tells you, in plain English, why the site received the rating, what’s good about it, what’s bad about it, and what you should be cautious of – all without you, personally, having to read the pages-long disclosures.
From ad trackers to privacy concerns to dangerous TOS agreements, danger is everywhere online, and one small misstep can have very large repercussions for your company, your executive, yourself, and, ultimately, your career.
Cybersecurity is everyone’s job, and as an admin, you are the first line of defense. Using the tools you have at your disposal can help prevent disaster!
What tools do you use to stay safe online? Share your advice by emailing us at AdminSuccess@AllThingsAdmin.com!
© 2017 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.