The reality of the digital age is that navigating the Internet is a messy business. If you’re not careful, you can inadvertently leave behind a trail of information in your wake. Some of what you leave behind might not be things you’ll be proud of one day in the future. Of course, like many other resources, the Internet is an excellent tool when used responsibly. In the early years of the Internet, I could see what we needed to keep our information safe, and I wanted to give people the ability to make the necessary changes to their online presence to accomplish that. And that was the goal that led to MyLife.

A lot of what online security comes down to is knowledge and awareness. Just like how you learn to lock the doors to your home, you have to learn to protect themselves online. Here are a few of the fundamental ways that can help you do just that.

Take advantage of search tools

Whether it’s through Google, Bing, or some other search engine, just searching for your name can give you a sense of what information is being spread about you, and where it’s coming from.

In addition to using search engines, reputation management platforms like MyLife gives you a more in-depth insight into what information is being spread about you online. This not only allows you to monitor what information is out there but also makes you aware of when false information is being perpetuated, which can cause damage to your online and offline reputation. MyLife can then help you take the necessary steps in removing that incorrect information, cleaning up your online presence.

This is always my first recommendation for anyone looking to keep their information secure online. After all, you can’t fight blindfolded. Giving yourself this holistic sense of awareness and knowledge is the first step in overcoming information security issues.

Practice safe online shopping

E-commerce is expected to make up 17.5 percent of retail sales by 2021. Already, more than half of millennials (and almost half of the non-millennials) are inclined to make purchases online. Because of both personalization and convenience, online shopping is quickly becoming a preferred method of purchasing products and services. But it can also represent a vulnerability in information security.

To find out where a site is secure, make sure that the web address starts with “https” instead of just “http.” It seems like a small distinction, but it makes all the difference. A padlock next to the URL bar also means that the website is secure, and will use encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by other parties during transactions.

In addition, aim to give as little data as is possible. For instance, a retailer doesn’t need to know your social security number, and if they ask, that could potentially be a red flag. Also, avoid making purchases through public wi-fi connections, as they are unmonitored and could make you more susceptible to data theft. As online shopping continues to grow, using these tips to stay secure will allow you to enjoy what e-commerce has to offer without worry.

Moderate what you share on social media

While changing your privacy settings is undoubtedly an immense help to your security, ensuring that no one can take advantage of you through social media takes a little more than tweaking some privacy settings. Many people on social media have hundreds of connections, with many of them being mere acquaintances or friends met online. Who’s to say how trustworthy they are? Even if you feel safe and comfortable sharing details like what you’ve purchased, your address or your phone number on social platforms, there’s no telling who will use that information for dubious means.

Playing it as close to the chest when using social media is the safe thing to do. That doesn’t mean you have to censor yourself — just that you should be cautious and ensure that you are not giving away any sensitive information without realizing it. Also, you can use MyLife to give you an indication of how authentic your connections are, and potentially prevent anyone from stealing your information.

With the Internet being an everyday part of our lives, it’s up to us as individuals and digital citizens to keep ourselves safe. And to find out how MyLife works with users to help them keep their online presence secure, check out our website and sign up to get started!