I’m dedicated to my clients’ privacy

Information logo. Protecting client data.

Your privacy is my priority

If you’re on any social media – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more – then you’ve probably, at some point or another, come across fishy ads, messages, and other scams that happen on the Internet. It happens!

As the online atmosphere unfolds and develops, so does our understanding of online privacy and what can threaten our cybersecurity. This is why I stay proactive about cybersecurity threats and secure my clients’ data.

All email communications are encrypted by default

Client data is typically not transported via email. However, in the event that I communicate sensitive information via email, all my email communications are encrypted. 

Encryption is a cheap and accessible way of protecting client data, mitigating security risks, and preventing the misuse of sensitive information, so that it travels to the person it is intended for, with limited access to others (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2023). Encryption is like a word scramble in a foreign language. Only the intended reader has access to the complete message. Encryption is a good default method to ensure that communication between clinicians, clients, and other providers is secure and protected.

My passwords are strong and non-guessable

I use passwords that consist of multiple, random words (non-guessable), varying characters, and different passwords for different accounts. I use a native password manager to help me in this process.  Password managers are a tool for securing and remembering dynamic, strong passwords. Password managers can easily have 50, 100, or more passwords stored at once, and be easily accessible when you need them. 

My account is my own

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is enabled across all of my accounts.  Each time I log in, I use two or more credentials to verify my identity. This includes texts, calls, and confirmation codes via the authenticator app. My accounts are armored in multiple layers of protection, and I’m the only person with access. There’s no secretary, insurance company, or third-party with backup access to my accounts. It’s just lil’ ol’ me! 🙂 

My wireless network activity is private

I minimize the tracking of my wireless network activity using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Every mobile device and computer has its own, unique Internet Protocol (IP) Address linked to it. A VPN hides your IP address from websites and masks your location, reducing the risk of using public Wi-Fi by, “acting as an encrypted middle-ground between your device and the internet router,” (National Cybersecurity Alliance, 2023).

Whether I am using the office or Starbucks WiFi, I am using a VPN to secure my wireless activity.  A VPN is an extra barrier between my devices and boundless, unpredictable internet connections. Just like Harry Potter, I achieve a “cloak of invisibility,” so to speak. I use WindScribe as my personal VPN. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are other common options.

My clients’ privacy is valued and respected

I naturally deal with very private and sensitive information. It’s important that my clients feel safe and trust me. I am always aware of security threats and proactive about preventing them in my practice. Using strong passwords, Multi-Factor Authentication, Virtual Private Networks, and encryption, are a few ways I protect client data

If you want deeper information for your own cyber-hygiene, consider enrolling in an online safety course, such as Khan Academy’s (free) Internet Safety Course, or courses offered by other trusted providers.

Resources

ACA Code of Ethics. (2014). American Counseling Association. 

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. (2021). Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021- Creating Passwords Tip Sheet. https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Cybersecurity%20Awareness%20Month%202021%20-%20Creating%20Passwords%20Tip%20Sheet.pdf

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. (January 5, 2022). Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Retrieved January 23, 2024, from https://www.cisa.gov/resources-tools/resources/multi-factor-authentication-mfa

Internet Safety Life Skills Course. (2022). Khan Academy. Retrieved January 23, 2024, from https://www.khanacademy.org/college-careers-more/internet-safety 

Manage passwords using keychains on Mac. (2024). Apple Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2024, from https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/use-keychains-to-store-passwords-mchlf375f392/mac#:~:text=macOS%20uses%20keychains%20to%20help,view%20and%20manage%20your%20keychains

National Cybersecurity Alliance. (July 3, 2023). Pull the Shades Down on Your Browsing With a VPN. Retrieved January 23, 2024, from https://staysafeonline.org/online-safety-privacy-basics/pull-the-shades-down-on-your-browsing-with-a-vpn/

National Cyber Security Centre. (2016). How cyber attacks work. Retrieved January 23, 2024, from https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/how-cyber-attacks-work

who is emily of oviedo, a counselor in oviedo fl experienced with kids and teens

Emily Berndt, M.A.

I am a counselor intern in Oviedo who specializes in anxiety, self-esteem, and ADHD. I work with child, teen, and adult clients to meet their unique counseling goals. Afternoon and evening appointments are now available! Connect with me today to start progressing towards your goals. I would love to meet you. 🙂

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