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How to Protect Your Digital Identity

protect digital identity

Our digital identities are shaped by personal information about ourselves that we share online: name, age, gender, geographical location, email address, phone number, etc. If someone steals this data to act on our behalf, we might lose our funds, reputation, and social connections. In this article, you’ll find useful tips on protecting your digital identity from theft and enhancing the security of your online presence.

Create Several Digital Identities

Maybe you have two phone numbers or two emails and use the first one for work and the second one for private communication. Similarly, you can create multiple digital identities.

Emails Can Help

Have several emails.

  • You can create your first email address to communicate with banks and government bodies.
  • The second email address exchanges messages with diverse offline recipients (such as shops, garages, dental clinics).
  • Your third email address is for friends, relatives, and social networks.
  •  A fourth email address will be for subscriptions and registrations.

Each of your digital identities will be connected to a particular email, but they will never overlap — these types of actions create your safety net of digital identities.

You can access all your email addresses from the same mailbox. For instance, you can automatically redirect all the incoming messages to the same Gmail inbox. Gmail will let you select the address that you would like to send each of your emails from.

You won’t even need to use exclusively @gmail.com addresses. Microsoft Outlook functions on the same principle and allows users to attach up to 10 auxiliary emails to the main one so that you have 11 addresses all in all.

Replace Your Password with a Passphrase

A passphrase consists of several words, so it’s much more difficult to brute-force it than a password. Ideally, these words should be generated randomly, and each of them should contain a minimum of 16 characters.

For each site and service you use, you should generate a unique passphrase. Of course, it might be tricky to remember all these combinations — but you can download 1Password, LastPass, or Dashlane. These trusted and credible password managers will safely store your passwords in a well-protected database.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Some modern online services include two-factor authentication as a mandatory feature; others offer it optional. After you enable the two-factor authentication, you won’t be able to access your account just by inserting your password. The system will send you a confirmation link or code to your phone or email that will serve as the key to your account.

If someone tries to hack your account from a remote device, you will get to know about it.

Install and Enable an Antivirus

Modern antiviruses are powerful multifunctional programs. They efficiently protect users not only from malicious software but from all sorts of threats. They identify a menace long before it attacks your device and ward it off.

Also, they check your system and software updates to make sure you use the latest versions. Updatings are essential for security because newer versions of the programs don’t contain old vulnerabilities.

Stay Suspicious

If a site or service asks you to share your confidential data, think twice whether it really needs it. Is it necessary for a game, news aggregator, or dating service to know your birth date or bank account number? Or is it just a nefarious trick to cheat confidential information out of you?

Inspect your bank statements and payment history weekly. According to a stereotype, if hackers get hold of your bank account, they will immediately transfer all your funds to their account. But this will inevitably attract your attention, so some smart violators opt for small transfers instead. If you notice payments for goods or services that you never purchased, your account might be hacked.

Don’t include meaningful personal information in your social media profiles.

Indicate only the data that you are ready to share literally with the whole world, including thousands of people that you will never know.

If you receive an email with a link, open it only in case you know the recipient well. Spammers and organizers of phishing attacks might ask you to visit a certain page, to indicate your account data or financial credentials. Some ask you to confirm the receipt of a pre-approved credit card that you never ordered.

If you receive a similar email from your bank, get in touch with its support service, and ask if they indeed sent it.

Use Browser Security Tools

To get rid of the annoying ads for good, install AdBlock Plus. To block spying ads and invisible trackers, use Privacy Badger. To make your browser always redirect you to safer HTTPS versions of websites from the outdated HTTP ones, apply HTTPS Everywhere.

You can choose between dozens of free extensions that are compatible with nearly any browser and will efficiently protect your digital identity.

However, the protective software that you have installed might not be enough to stop tracking completely. To check how safe your browser is, use Panopticlick: it will measure your security level and analyze your system configurations. Relying on the impartial results of the analysis, you will be able to fine-tune your settings, delete or install certain add-ons, etc.

Monitor the News

If a bank, a governmental body, or an e-commerce institution falls prey to a data breach, it will be mentioned in the news. If it turns out that your confidential data might be compromised, change all your passwords immediately.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article came in handy, and now you know how to protect your digital identity. Losing it might sometimes be just as troublesome as losing your real-life passport.

The above-listed recommendations can be applied to any device that you use to go online, be it a stationary computer, a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet. As you see, you don’t need to be a geek to enhance your internet privacy and enjoy the time you spend online to the max.

Image Credit: cottonbro: pexels

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6 Futuristic HR Technology Trends Amid COVID-19 Crisis

HR tech trends

Businesses are quickly adapting to the COVID-19 reality where HR technology has made the greatest influence to do so. COVID-19 has accelerated the evaluation, training, and implementation of HR tech trends in businesses of all sizes.

The HR team is actively involved in adopting innovative technologies at all levels like – recruitment process, employee engagement practices, and management processes. An emphasis has been laid on mobile connectivity and visual communication as employees started working remotely. The traditional management approach may not address the new challenges and complexities to keep the employee cycle moving.

Also, HR professionals are turning toward more strategic roles. They are catering to business needs like structuring organizations, strengthening the workforce, and managing talent. So, the repetitive tasks are handled through tech tools paving the way to use their potential to spot trends, decision-making, and becoming the true business partners.

In the survey, we can find how HR projects are delivered on their expected business value as said by employers.

Let’s deep dive into the technical aspects of the HR domain and how best HR leaders are cruising through this storm in the ocean. Here is a quick primer on some of the popular HR tech trends that are developing at an unimaginable speed.

Popular HR Tech Trends Amid COVID-19 Crisis

There is a quick shift in HR functionalities amid the COVID-19 crisis. Here are the HR tech trends that are raising the bar and helping the team to make informed and innovative decisions for the organization.

Artificial Intelligence in HR

AI in HR is on the limelight to lessen the administrative burden on the HR team. Artificial Intelligence can be used for various purposes in HR functionalities like screening, recruiting, online and offline training of employees, managing leaves, detecting anomalies, resolving queries, reviewing performance, absenteeism, exit metrics, and initiating retirements. AI use cases include digital coaching, development planning, recognition, and wellness as per ISG reports, 2019.

In brief, AI can streamline redundant and time-heavy tasks. It can quicken the tasks like surfing hundreds of resumes and cover letters, compiling and analyzing survey data, and many more tasks. Also, it removes human bias or error while evaluating candidates. However, one has to take care that there is no built-in bias while programming the algorithms, as this will continue the issue and may not get noticed upfront.

It is essential to train the systems with the right data and algorithms that are easy and transparent to understand. AI-enabled workplace still requires human skills and that’s where leadership in HR shines.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in HR

RPA includes robotic skills like natural language processing (NPL), machine learning, chatbots, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It helps the HR team to increase productivity as it can speed up communications. Many of the modern HR systems have chatbots that can provide answers to employee inquiries. 50 percent of companies will have HR chatbots by 2022, Chatbot News Daily reports.

RPA has a wide range of applications in HR processes, Deloitte reports. RPA can contribute in many aspects like strategic processes, talent management, operation, and total rewards.

  • The strategic processes include workforce planning management, also, employee satisfaction, organization design, establishment, and implementation of HR policies and programs.
  • Similarly, talent management processes involve recruitment, onboarding, employee development, employee training, performance, competency, global employment, career graph, and succession planning.
  • Likewise, operation management involves data administration, management of payrolls, reports, employee health, employee separation, labor, and employee relations.
  • And, total rewards include salary compensation and other related employee benefits.

As per Deloitte studies, RPA tools are best suitable for processes with repeatable and predictable interactions with improved efficiency and effectiveness of services.

Employee engagement tools in HR

Employers today are concerned with the employees’ financial well-being and health. As a solution, they are providing financial and employee wellness apps like budgeting apps, fitness trackers, wearable apps for health, and more. They are given access to many other apps and platforms for child care too.

Moreover, there are apps provided by healthcare providers that maintain the privacy of health data. Given the pandemic situation and raising remote work culture, there are self-service employee experience portals that facilitate employees to handle HR functions all by themselves. Likewise, remote tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are also used in maximum while engaging with employees, interviewing, hiring, and recruitment at the remote. This paves the way for the HR team to focus on people more than processes.

Cloud-computing in HR

Cloud computing streamlines the recruitment process and is capable of transforming the whole HR functions. To mention a few trends are omnichannel models, the Internet of Things, employee wellness, learning culture, agile workforce, and data security.

  • Cloud computing ensures streamlined functions and benefits organizations that have implemented it.
  • IoT acts as the perfect tool through greater connectivity. It can be used to transform data into information at a faster rate. And, storage of this humongous data will not be a hurdle due to the cloud.
  • Cloud communication is much better and fills the missing links in the communication facilitating managers to review, communicate, or provide feedback and all through a single platform.
  • As firms encourage e-learning and online training for employees to upgrade their skills, cloud computing enables employees to meet industrial requirements in a comfort zone.
  • Cloud computing connects the workforce from various geographical locations and profiles easily and gives instant communication facilities.
  • Cloud computing is more reliable for data security as the security measures protect the data to the core.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in HR

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can be used as a tool in HR toolkit. They help in the recruiting and onboarding process by setting up a simulated environment to test candidates’ specific skills, share a virtual tour of the office, create a personalized work-space environment, improve efficiency, save costs and make engaging recruitment process that helps in branding, training employees in new techniques.

It enables the HR professionals and supervisors to identify key areas of improvement, understand elements of concern for accomplishing goals by scanning people’s faces through sentiment analysis. 49% of Gen Z employees in Singapore believed that VR would revolutionize their work, while 45 % in the US confirmed the same. AR and VR have the potential to elevate a team collaboration levels. Though it is not implemented in an appreciable strength, it is more likely to be the top trend in the near future.

Blockchain in HR

Blockchain technology is poised to manage HR capabilities in different ways. The HR industry is envisioning the use cases of blockchain in their arena vowing to its characteristic features like immutability, transparency, trust, security, and decentralization. A few of the use cases could be –

With its security capabilities, blockchain can handle sensitive employee data like their pay, healthcare, banking, performance records, and expense reimbursement. Blockchain will prevent internal and external hacks of sensitive records as there will be authorized persons only.

It is difficult to determine the employees’ work and education history with the current facilities. With blockchain, the HR team can improve recruiting processes, verify the qualifications of the prospect, and make background checks. All records of the candidate will be present in a block that will get accessed through authorization.

Further, blockchain eliminates time lags in payroll systems even when the company goes global. The blockchain ledger helps to track invoices, facilitate distribution, billing, and reporting of all kinds of transactions. Payroll processing will occur in a timely fashion. It also assists in automating taxes, reimbursement system, mitigate audit risks, and give better access to benefits and packages.

To conclude

HR technology is helping the industries to sustain amid the prolonged lockdown led by the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to these technology implementations, an increased focus toward the people aspect will drive the HR domain toward new work habits and its success.

Image Credit: pexels; pixabay

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10 Security Tips for ‘Work From Home’ Enterprises During COVID-19

security tips for work at home

Millions of companies have shifted office work to work from home in this pandemic time. It’s crucial to consider the consequences of access to internal IT infrastructure, systems access, data repatriation, and bandwidth costs.

Essentially, what this means is that when the employee remotely accesses the data, the risk to that data increases.

Most of the time, the risk is only between the internal network, server, and end-user device. While external working contributes to the risks that include local networks, public internet, and consumer-grade security systems.

The following are some of the strategies to minimize these data security risks.

  1. Run a password audit

Your company needs to audit passcodes for all employees. This does not mean demanding personal information from users, but it helps in redefining and resetting passcodes that are used to access specific business services in accordance with the strict security policy.

Alphanumeric codes, the use of two-factor authentication, should become obligatory. Moreover, you should ask your team members to protect all the devices with the toughest protection possible. You should also ensure that all of your business-critical passwords are stored securely.

2. Share basic security knowledge with employees

Employees working from home must be provided with essential safety advice. This knowledge sharing activity will help all employees to guard against any type of cyberattacks, phishing emails, public Wi-Fi, to ensure that home Wi-Fi networks are adequately secured and to verify the safety of the devices they use to get work done.

Employees should be particularly advised to avoid clicking links in the emails from people they don’t know and to stay safe from the cyberattacks carried out by other countries.

They also need to know basic security advice, and it’s also vital to have an emergency response team in place at your business. People need to know who to contact in the event they detect a security anomaly.

3. Encourage the use of secured cloud services

One way to secure the endpoints for the employee is to ensure that the sensitive information is not stored locally. Data storage should be cloud-based wherever possible. Not only that, but employees should be encouraged to use cloud-based apps as well. It’s also essential that any third-party cloud storage services must be verified by the network and security team.

4. Mandatory backups

Make sure to use backup tools, where appropriate, would be helpful. Otherwise, you should encourage employees to use external drives to back up computers. If you are using a mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) software, automatic backups can be initiated through the management console of your system.

5. Use an MDM/EMM solution

It may be sensible to install an EMM or MDM system. It will make the provision and management of your device fleet much easier, while also separating corporate data from personal data. These solutions also provide better control of device and Mac security.

6. Provide VPN access to employees

One way to secure data is to use a VPN that will help employees to keep their data encrypted. It also helps in masking and hiding the IP address.

7. Provision security protection

Make sure that the state-of-the-art security protection is installed and active on any devices that are used for work. That means there should be firewalls, virus checkers, and device encryption in the palace.

8. Update software

Encourage the employees to update their applications to the new version that the company’s security strategy supports. (Some companies lag behind the Apple software release schedule, however, most don’t.) Also, activate automatic updates on all of your devices.

9. Develop contingency plans

Trip your teams by ensuring that the operational roles are shared between teams. Also, ensure that you are implementing contingency plans now in case key staff get sick. Assign and duplicate all security management, tech support, passwords, failsafe roles, and essential codes.

10. Reset Wi-Fi router passwords

Not every employee will have their Wi-Fi router reset to the default password. If you have an IT support team, then it should become a priority to provide telephone guidance to secure home routers. You don’t want to subject your information to a man in the center, data sniffing, or some other form of assault.

You may also need to make payment arrangements for any excess bandwidth used, as not all broadband connections are equal. In the current crisis, some (most recently, AT&T) are making positive sounds about enhancing available data packages.

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