Cybersecurity in Sports
Micky Addam provides six tips for protecting your coaching data.
As a sports coach, you work with a lot of sensitive information, including personal details about your clients. Safeguarding that data is crucial for your success. If it were to fall into the wrong hands, you could potentially find yourself in a PR nightmare. How can you protect your coaching data? By taking the following cybersecurity steps.
Use Strong Passwords
It would help if you had a password for every online account, so make them count. Come up with combinations that are not easy to guess, keeping your personal information out of the equation. A strong password should be a long string of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols. Use the maximum character limit when creating your passwords. The longer the combination, the harder it is for hackers to crack them.
The best practice for safeguarding your accounts is to use a password manager. It will automatically generate strong combinations for your accounts and store them in a secure vault. You will not have to remember all passwords or write them down and risk someone stealing them. Additionally, most password managers have the auto-fill feature, meaning that you will not have to copy-paste the credentials.
Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is one of the essentials that cybersecurity advocates cannot emphasize enough. Such tools will protect you from malicious sites and remove most of the malware infections from your operating system. That part is worrying, but that is because new malware tools are always popping up. Hence, you need to keep the software up to date. New updates address recently detected vulnerabilities and always come with additional security fixes.
Beware Phishing Emails
Phishing scams are instrumental in the transmission of malicious files or extortion of private data. Usually, deceptive messages contain malicious links that secretly install malware on your device the moment you click on them. That harmful program can record your keystrokes, that is, everything you type. Therefore, it can steal your usernames and passwords. So, do not click on any email links or attachments if you do not know the sender. Even if the sender appears to be your client, triple-check the address to ensure it is them.
But there is another catch. An email or a message on social media can be from someone you know and still be fraudulent. Why? Because they too could have clicked on a malicious link, which then forwarded the message to all their contacts. Hence, never click on links before asking the sender directly if they have sent it.
Be Mindful of the Websites You Visit
Just like emails, various websites you visit can be malicious as well. Make sure every URL starts with “HTTPS,” which indicates that the site follows industry-standard protocols. There should also be a padlock icon in front of the URL to showing that the site is secure.
Avoid Working on Public Wi-Fi Networks
Being a sports coach or nutrition specialist means being available for your clients most of the time. It also means getting a lot of work done on the go or while travelling. If you do that, do not fall into the most common cybersecurity pitfall – connecting to free public Wi-Fi. It is tempting to use free internet that cafes, restaurants, hotels, airports, or other facilities offer. However, they can be detrimental to your digital privacy.
Public Wi-Fi networks are the easiest way for hackers to gain access to people’s devices and accounts. It is a piece of cake for them to access devices on the same network. They could easily steal or misuse your and your clients’ sensitive data. So, stick to encrypted networks that follow the necessary authentication process. When travelling, get an international data roaming plan to have internet access, and ensure full data security.
Get a VPN
If you get a reliable VPN, you will not have to worry about connecting to public Wi-Fi spots. These tools encrypt internet connections and give users a fake IP address. You can appear to be in a completely different location – the location of one of its VPN servers. That can also be useful when you are travelling and encounter a geo-block. Geo-restrictions can put a brake on your business operations if you cannot access certain websites.
For instance, with the robust, Atlas VPN defense, you can be completely anonymous online. By doing this, you will not end up on hackers’ radar. Even if they do manage to intercept connections, the encrypted data will not bring them any profits. Overall, being a sports coach nowadays does not mean only focusing on sports. You have to think about your online security if you communicate with clients online. Following all these steps will help eliminate the most common cybersecurity risks and focus on providing quality services to your clients.
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About the Author
Micky Addam is a freelance journalist.