In our digital world, the need to protect one's online data has never become more apparent. Despite our many years of engagement with the internet, statistics show that data theft and fraud have not slowed down, meaning we have not become as wise as we could when it comes to avoiding security breaches. Many still fall victim to cyberattacks, scams, phishing, identity theft, and other hacking methods. With so much of your personal information existing online, it is vital you secure your data. Let's take a look at how you can go about doing that.
Data security principles
1. Being password-smart and implementing authentication steps
It becomes annoying, every single new app or service you download requires an account and a password. When you end up with so many different tools that all utilise a login, it becomes very tempting to just recycle the same password for absolutely everything, and it's often the same password we've had since we first got online years ago. This just doesn't work when it comes to real security measures that rely on a password as the core defence system. In fact, over 80% of corporate data breaches stem from weak passwords.
To ensure your own data is secure, you need to approach password protection seriously
- Make sure your password is 12 characters minimum and consists of letters, numbers, and symbols, as well as variations in upper and lowercase.
- Ensure they are unique but not so overly complicated that you have to write them down to remember. If you do need to remember, use a password management app to store all of them securely in one place.
- Make use of two-factor authentication. Having an additional measure that operates in tandem with your password just adds an additional layer of security.
2. Keep your applications and software updated
Most often, software updates and upgrades don't just improve features, they also improve security. These updates usually contain security patches that defend against weak points that have been identified and exploited by hackers. Make sure that you have automated your update settings wherever possible so that you don't have to remember to action anything.
Here are some of the programs and tools you need to keep updated consistently:
- Anti-virus and malware
- Operating systems
- Web browsers
3. Understand the privacy policies you agree to
None of us want to read through those length privacy agreements, but that is exactly how you end up signing away your data. Ensure that you read through these policies, because you might find yourself catching sneaky clauses that allow for the organisations to utilise your data!
4. Utilise a VPN
When you connect online through a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you access the internet through a third-party server, and your data is also encrypted. This means that any online platforms you browse on can only capture the address of the third-party server. This helps keep your personal sessions private when browsing online, as whatever services or platforms you connect to cannot trace your data.
5. Tighten up your privacy settings
Lastly, it should go without saying that any elective steps you can take to secure your online data and privacy should be utilised. Make sure you check that your various apps are switched from the default settings that generally allow the platforms to access and use your data. Check through all old signups and accounts that you have had for a long time, as the developers may have updated their privacy policies at some point, or you may have accepted the default settings when first joining that platform.
Securing your business's data
Just as it is important to secure your personal data, ensuring your business's data is protected is absolutely essential for all the same reasons, and because of sensitive information in the form of financial transactions, confidential documents, patents, etc. Some additional measures to consider in protecting your business's data include:
1. Controlled access
Sensitive information should be encrypted and handled only by the necessary members of your team, rather than each person in your business having access. This does not indicate a lack of trust in your team, it is rather a case of efficiency in streamlining your overall data protection systems.
2. Secure cloud services
Most businesses today work with a cloud-based system for filing and storage of information. Digitising data is necessary for efficient functioning in your business, but you have to ensure that the cloud service you use provides the right protection for your requirements.
3. Eliminate old data
The less data left on your cloud or in your hardcopy filing systems the better. Adopt a system of priority and categorisation that ensures excess data that is no longer required to have in storage is destroyed. The less you have filed, the less data there is for hackers to potential get access to!
Overall, businesses and individuals today only benefit from optimising their data protection and privacy measures. Don't wait until it's too late. At NEXA, we assist businesses with optimising full workflows and systems, ensuring that our clients handle their data as best as possible to secure information. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.