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Internet Privacy and the Home Office
Separating your private life from your work at home life is a challenge in todayís digital age. There is a wealth of services available to small businesses, many free. Paid or free services should be reviewed thoroughly for security features.
When considering a service, find out how much of your personal information gets put out there on the internet. Know if you have the ability to select what is private and public. Also concern yourself with the privacy of your connections. If you have clients that require the same privacy, are they afforded the same anonymity as you when they do business or friend you?
You can easily get a free email from any number of online providers today. If you donít have your own website with emails featuring your domain name or your business is too small to warrant having a business email account, you can still have a business email. There is no need to exchange or publish a personal email. Googleís Gmail is a favorite of many.
There is no written law that says you must publish an email online for people to contact you. You can protect your business from spam by using a contact form service. They have easy to use tools to create forms. You can retrieve html code to add to a website or just use their service as a place for people to contact you. Then, once youíve verified the person contacting you is real and relevant, you can contact them back.
If you feel you need to publish an email address online for your business, there are other services that allow you to protect your email account from spam by sending an automated response to all who email you asking them to confirm they are a person. If they donít respond to this inquiry the email may be reported as spam and blocked from emailing you in the future.
Social media is useful to many businesses, but can become unmanageable when you mix work and pleasure. This is an area where you want to protect yourself and clients. Ensure you are familiar with the privacy settings for any groups you set up or join. Know how to share information safely and first and foremost, respect the privacy of others.
Whois is an information source of who owns and operates a domain. Small businesses or home office entrepreneurs may register a domain and once a site is registered, all the information about the person or business that registered is searchable online. If this information happens to be your personal address, phone and email, you can protect yourself by purchasing Whois privacy protection for a small fee (must be renewed).
The biggest security measure you can take if you are active online is to protect your passwords. Use different passwords for your various accounts especially where usernames or emails are the same or similar. Change them periodically as well.
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