How Much Does Microsoft Know About Your Trading Business?

by | Nov 6, 2018 | Blog, How to, Technology

As a trader, you know privacy is an important issue. But do you also know that Microsoft (via Windows 10) is a likely suspect for invading that privacy?

Windows in general and Windows 10 in particular don’t have a great history of providing the best privacy features. So pay attention to Windows 10 privacy settings to make sure your trading business is safe from prying eyes.

Summary of Windows 10 Privacy Issues

Privacy advocates have been unhappy about Windows 10’s information-gathering techniques right from the beginning. Microsoft says they’re just trying to make your life easier. But this easier life comes with a high price tag in terms of privacy.

The problem is the way Windows 10 collects personal data on your computer. Whether it’s your personal or trading computer, Microsoft is collecting a lot of information by default.

You have to go into the privacy settings to stop Microsoft from collecting this personal information. Most users aren’t even aware of this.

The good news is, changes are coming. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been critical of Windows 10 privacy practices. The French Government has ordered Microsoft to stop gathering user information by default. So there has been some progress.

But you still need to pay attention to the privacy settings to keep your personal information and your trading data from prying eyes.

Here is what to do to ensure your trading business has the privacy it needs.

Review Privacy Dashboard

The Microsoft Privacy Dashboard is a good starting point to gain control over your privacy. You can log into your Microsoft account and check what information Windows 10 is collecting on your trading computer (and other devices). You can also download and delete this data from here.

After taking a look at the dashboard, you’ll be more aware of what data Microsoft is keeping and be able to prioritize the changes to be made on each of your devices.

Consider Turning It All Off

The simplest approach is to just turn everything off.

But that’s not really the end of it. The next time you update, Windows will turn the options on again. So don’t forget to reset your privacy opt-outs after every update.

Don’t Be Intimidated

During the Windows 10 installation, you have the option to select individual privacy settings. But sometimes turning things off can be scary if you don’t fully understand the implications.

Don’t hesitate to turn off settings you think are unnecessary. None of this is permanent. You can always turn things back on if you need them.

Turn Off Cortana

Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant, is a heat sink for information. It transmits a lot of data back to Microsoft.

Most traders are going to want to turn it off. Otherwise, Microsoft will get a steady trickle of information about where you are and what you’re doing.

Stop Automatic Peer-to-Peer Sharing

Windows 10 uses peer-to-peer technology to share information and updates with other computers on your known network… without letting you know. You can turn off this feature.

As a side benefit, this will also help you save network bandwidth.

Log In With a Local Account

Signing in to your trading computer via a single, always-connected Microsoft account can be convenient. For example, Microsoft will automatically sync your settings on your various devices.

But this also means that information is flowing from your trading computer to your personal computer or tablet, with Microsoft as the go-between.

If you opt-in to create a local account on each device, it will help you keep information segregated. There will be less behind-the-scenes sharing of information. Your profiles will remain separate from each other.

Which choice is right for you? You’ll need to examine the trade-offs before making this call.

Try a Third-Party Tool

Windows 10 privacy settings can get complicated. The options can be confusing.

Third-party applications are available that make this information easier to understand. Try tools like W10Privacy or AntiSpy to make your privacy management easier.

Conclusion

Given the sensitive nature of the trading business, be sure you are aware of what data Microsoft is collecting. At the very least, schedule time this week to review your Microsoft Privacy Dashboard. Then adjust your settings so Microsoft isn’t getting any more of your information than necessary.

There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyer’s guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.

Remember, we are here to help with all your technology-related questions. If you think of additional questions about computer hardware or other questions, give me a call. My team and I are here to help. We’re happy to answer any of your questions about trading computers via phone: 800-387-5250.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on pixabay.