Keeping Your Digital Data Secure
The world as a whole is turning everything over to the digital realm. From important banking and financial documents to the way we communicate with customers and clients is all done online.
It has never been so important to keep your information safe with all of the sensitive transactions and classified conversations held on the internet. Information company IDC predicts that the total amount of digital data will reach 40 zettabytes by 2020. That is 50 times larger than it was in 2010.
With the growth in digital data comes a better understanding of the risks and steps necessary to protect yourself. More training and information is out there to help you keep your valuable information out of dangerous hands.
The chart below by Microsoft shows the dangers associated with a data breach. You have a lot to lose so you must do everything you can to protect yourself.
If you are in the habit of going long periods without backing up your information you are putting yourself at risk. The longer you go, the more data you are creating that can become corrupt and lost if your system falls under siege. With the rise of ransomware which is simply a virus that locks up your files and demands payment for access, it’s so important to back up your data.
If possible, create a backup routine, so it is performed at the same time every month or even week if you have a large volume of data. Get all your employees into the routine and if you have an IT department make sure they agree on the importance of backing up data.
If everything gets backed up properly, you won’t worry about losing much in the event of a breach or attack.
The best way to back up your files is to an excellent external hard drive. It’s useful to back up to the computer system itself, but it’s even better if you can extract the information altogether. This way, if you experience a virus attack all of your valuable data is in a separate location off of the computer and cannot be accessed. This method is also suitable if your computer or phone gets stolen.
The ultimate form of protection for your data is to store it in the cloud. This protects you from absolutely any kind of virus attack or data theft. No one can access your information of the cloud so if your computer systems experience a crippling virus attack all of your data is still accessible and safe in the cloud.
Storing data on the cloud also protects you from destruction due to a robbery, fire, or natural disaster. Once you get everything set back up you can regain access to your data.
It’s critical that you update your computer systems when required of you. Do not continue to postpone updates and put things off because you do not want to wait. The operating system companies issue these updates when new viruses get discovered as protection for you.
If you go long periods without updating your computer, you are leaving yourself especially vulnerable to hackers and malware. Get in the habit of updating your computer systems regularly or have your IT department work on a preventative maintenance schedule to ensure you never run into any issues.
Encryption is no longer a method of data security that requires extreme knowledge. This is the process of converting words into a series of numbers that make your confidential documents unreadable without a key. Over the past few years, apps and software have come out that automatically encrypt data such as emails, word documents, or financial statements. GPG for Mail is an example of a plugin that makes it simple to encrypt and decrypt emails to protect your valuable data if you get locked out and cannot access it due to an attack.
Use a VPN
Should the need arise to access your data remotely, always use a VPN if you are on an unfamiliar network. Accessing your remote files over an unsecured public Wi-Fi network can be extremely risky and depending on the information you are trying to access, you could be giving hackers a prime opportunity to intercept sensitive data.
If you have a larger company with employees – be sure to have a policy around online searches. If security is an issue in your business, consider putting a restriction on the websites that can get accessed through your computer system. Make sure everyone receives training on the dangers of unsafe web browsing.
Stay away from unidentifiable emails or attachments. Opening these can infect your computer or even lock you out of your valuable data. Do not allow employees to install programs on their computers.
Be sure to have a company-sponsored email service like Outlook. Get everyone in the business in on the email service and do not allow anyone was sending or receiving company emails to do so from a personal email. (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) The paid services have better security and often allow admin supervision privileges – so you or your IT department can monitor all the emails coming and going through your company.
PixelPrivacy.com is all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. We pride ourselves in writing guides that we’re certain even our own mothers could understand! Be sure to head over to our blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!