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5 Cyber Security Tips for Bloggers

5 Cyber Security Tips for Bloggers

The rise of social media has resulted in a rise of aspiring bloggers. This is partly because the ability to share content with the masses instantaneously has helped the blogging community by providing the means necessary for their blogs to be seen, read, and consistently followed.

Another reason social media has created more bloggers is that “star” accounts on Instagram and Facebook often lead to full time blogs for the individuals who run them and would like a larger space to share longer form content on a regular basis.

Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or are just getting started on your mission to join the blogger community, you could stand to benefit from a few cyber security tips to keep your content and personal information safe as you build your blog and its audience. With a myriad of ways hackers can attack your blog these days, it’s important that you know how to stay as safe as possible and have the tools necessary to recover should an attack occur.

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Here are five of my top cyber security tips for current and aspiring bloggers. Enjoy!

1.  Avoid unencrypted WiFi networks

As easy as it may be to hook up to the free WiFi at your local coffee shop, it can also be very dangerous to your blog. If you prefer to work on your blog in a remote workplace, be sure that the WiFi network you connect to is password protected. Unprotected (unencrypted) networks leave your device vulnerable to hackers who could potentially use the open network to view your online activity.

Asking for the official WiFi network and password will also help you avoid connecting to fake accounts set up by hackers.

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2. Refrain from storing passwords in your browser

One of the most common cyber security mistakes made by internet users today is storing login information in a browser. Although it’s convenient to have your username and password automatically entered when you visit WordPress or the login portal for your CMS (content management system), it puts your blog at serious risk.

Instead of storing your CMS login info in your browser, store it in a secure password storage location. Wired has a solid list of free options for this. In addition to finding a safe place for your login info, be sure to create a strong password for your blog that is different from passwords you’ve used on other sites.

3. Use a private network

Private networks or VPNs (virtual private networks) help secure your browsing sessions by encrypting the traffic between your device and the server. When you’re working on your blog, be sure to use a VPN to keep your site safe. Another important part of this is to only visit HTTPS sites to ensure that each site you visit is secure.

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4. Keep your security software up-to-date

Security software is absolutely essential for bloggers. Start by finding an effective security software program that fits within your budget. Once you’ve got the software installed, it’s essential that you keep it up to date. The longer a device runs with outdated software, the more vulnerable it is to attacks.

It may be tempting to ignore update notifications, but it will be well worth taking a few minutes to update your device’s security software when you consider the alternative which would be to lose all of the work you’ve done on your blog to a preventable online attack.

5. Prepare to quickly recover from attacks

Even if you take every possible precaution to avoid an attack on your blog, the unfortunate truth is that you are never completely immune to attacks. Although taking the necessary cyber security steps will significantly decrease your potential for an attack on your blog, preparing for the worst will help you quickly recover and gain back control over your work as quickly as possible if an attack occurs.

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Depending on the CMS you choose, necessary preparation will vary. For one of the most commonly used systems, WordPress, it will be important to know how to bring your site back to life after it’s been shut down, and secure your site with a new password and two step authentication for added security.

Now that you’ve got the information you need, it’s time to start securing your work. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating your personal brand online, why not take a few extra steps to make sure it’s as protected as possible? If you have any additional cyber security tips or have questions about how to secure your blog, I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Getty via istockphoto.com

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5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

1. Take breaks

First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

3. Put your work first

This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

5. Try to be happy and optimistic

If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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