10 Tips for a safe digital work environment

3 mins

Keeping your computer – and your practice – digitally safe may sound like hard work, but it’s easier than you think. Below we give our top tips – hopefully, you’re already doing some of these!

Tip 1: Install antivirus software

Consider antivirus software as the vaccine for your computer; you can use it not only to prevent infections but also to detect and cure infections. Antivirus software (usually) also protects you against other nasties, such as malware, spyware, and trojan horses. Once you have antivirus software installed, ensure you have it set to automatically update and scan your computer.

Tip 2: Keep your computer updated

In addition to antivirus software, it is important to keep your computer operating system up-to-date. In addition to major new versions, Microsoft and Apple regularly update the software and drivers required to keep your computer safe and stable. In both Windows and Mac OS, you can find options to automatically keep your computer updated.

Tip 3: Manage your passwords

Strong, and unique passwords are critical to digital security. You should use unique, randomised passwords with a mix of characters, numbers and symbols. To help you generate and securely recall passwords and login details, use a password manager. Under no circumstances should you use simple words or dates, write them down, or share them with anyone.

Tip 4: Check your firewall

A digital ‘firewall’ is the gatekeeper between your computer and the rest of the world. Your practice may have a hardware firewall, but in addition to this, both Windows and Apple computers have a built-in firewall, which you can enable if you do not have another firewall in place, or if you are unsure.

Tip 5: Protect your email

One of the easiest ways for viruses to infect your computer is through your email. After ensuring your antivirus software is installed and up to date, check your email settings to see if you can enable advanced spam or phishing filters. Also, practice good email vigilance – if you don’t know the sender, don’t open the attachment.

Tip 6: Be selective when visiting websites

Try to only visit the websites of well-known companies or institutions. If you visit other sites, be aware that gambling, promotion/prize, and gaming sites can host viruses.

Tip 7: Back up your data

With Animana, your practice data is secured safely in the cloud and is automatically backed up. However, not all data you use in your practice is stored in Animana, for example, files and documents such as Word, Excel, images, X-rays, and other files. You should ensure you have backups of these files (ideally in another 2 locations, with one being at a different location). That way you won’t lose everything if something goes wrong.

Tip 8: Always follow advice immediately when it’s from a trusted source

It’s hard to define “trusted source” here, but as with our website tip above, if a large software company, supplier, or trusted expert advises a software update you should follow this advice as soon as possible. After all, a software supplier gives this advice to protect your data.

Tip 9: Ask for help in time

Inevitably, you will have a software or hardware-related problem with your computer. If you do, don’t wait too long to ask for help – not only may it save you time, but it may also save your data! Your colleagues, practice IT expert, or supplier should be the first people you turn to.

Tip 10: Use common sense

The very best advice is to use common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is; whether it’s free software, free advice, winning a competition, or money which can’t get to you. If you doubt an email or link, don’t do it! With simple common sense, you can prevent a lot of misery!

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