Why Should You Secure Your Data On Your Computer
Data is a four-letter word that most businesses will not want to hear. It stands for Dollar, Dollar, Dollar, and it can be all too easy for organizations to lose sight of the value that it represents.
This can have dangerous financial implications if companies are not careful. The right data management processes and technology can help organizations protect their data and how it is used while maximizing its value.
This white paper brings together the most essential advice on how to secure your data, why you should care, and the steps necessary to take to ensure compliance with internal protocols and external regulations for handling data.
What Is Data?’s Value?
People sometimes ask me: “What is the value of data?” and I always answer: “It depends”. Of course, it depends on which data you are talking about. For example, genetic data has value in the pharmaceutical industry, allowing them to identify potential drug targets or find mutations that can be used to determine a patient’s susceptibility to certain illnesses.
Financial data has value to investors as it can be used to determine a company’s financial health, allowing them to make better investment decisions. Biological data, such as DNA, has value to scientists who can use it to further our understanding of biology and the natural world around us.
All of this amounts to an enormous amount of data with value. The more you know, the more you can determine your own value. That is the power of information.
The Danger Of Not Securing Data
Unfortunately, there are many cases where individuals and organizations fail to appreciate the value of data. In these situations, poorly secured data can have serious consequences. The most glaring example of this is the Equifax data breach where sensitive information of over 147 million Americans was compromised.
Oftentimes, the damages caused by a data breach are not easily calculated. For instance, in the Equifax case, the company was ordered to pay $17.7 million in restitution to the victims and $8.5 million to the federal government. Even more disturbingly, the individuals whose data were compromised did not benefit from the data breach at all. They never got the chance to purchase a life insurance policy or take out a home loan. The data breach simply proved to be a financial windfall for those who illegally accessed the information.
The Need For Data Security
Despite the fact that data has value, too often we see organizations simply throwing caution to the wind and not securing their data at all. Why is this? Well, the simple answer is: “it’s not safe to assume that no one will get access to your data”. In today’s world, it seems like there is always the chance that a person or group of people could stumble upon your data by mistake, whether it be printed on paper or stored in a digital form. This is why it is crucial to secure your data and ensure that it is well-protected at all times. A proper balance needs to be struck between flexibility and safety to ensure that valuable data is never damaged or lost. This is why you should take the time to think through all of the data’s security measures and put them in writing. In case something happens and you are unable to keep up with your data’s security, you have a safety net in place that will help you recover as much as possible.
Everyone wants to protect their data these days, especially after the recent high-profile hacking scandals.
Whether you have social media accounts or you conduct business online, the ability to keep your personal information secure is a must. And while many tools exist to prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal data, you still need to take some measures on your end to secure it.
Here are a few helpful tips to secure your data on your computer.
Use A Password Manager
Keeping track of multiple passwords for all your accounts and remembering them is a nightmare. It’s not uncommon for users to choose simple, easy-to-remember passwords, which then can be easily cracked by hackers. A password manager helps solve this problem by generating and storing strong and complex passwords for you, so you don’t need to remember them.
The first step is to download and install a reputable password manager on your computer. Then, you can begin adding your login credentials (such as your email address and user name) to ensure you can access your data when you need it. Some examples of password managers are 1Password, Dashlane and LastPass.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to provide a second factor (sometimes referred to as a security code or login password) when you log in to your account. This second factor can be anything you know or use regularly, such as the password for your email account or the pattern on the back of your credit card.
Enabling two-factor authentication is easy. Just visit the website for your chosen account provider and follow the on-screen instructions. When you enable two-factor authentication, the account provider will send you an authentication code via text message or email.
Use A VPN
A VPN is a virtual private network that creates a safe and encrypted tunnel between your computer and the server of your choice. The most popular VPN services available today include:
- Hotspot Shield
- Sophos SaferVPN
By connecting to the VPN server, you are effectively shielding yourself from eavesdroppers, hackers and other Internet users who may want to snoop on your activity. The best VPN services offer plenty of servers located in countries like the US, UK and Canada, which offer enhanced privacy and security compared to servers located in other countries. If your sensitive data must travel overseas, consider looking for a VPN provider that has servers in a country that has a strict no-spying policy.
The more countries a VPN has servers in, the better, as you can rest assured that your personal data will be safer there. Remember: no matter where you go in the world, your data is still accessible to unauthorized parties. Enabling privacy and security for your data to travel overseas is especially useful if you are working from a country that does not have the same data protection laws as your home country.
Use An Email Filtering Service
Email filtering services help protect your inbox from spammers and other unwanted email messages. With so many unsolicited messages clogging up our inboxes, it’s no wonder people are driven to unsubscribe from lists they no longer care about. Many email messaging systems allow you to do this easily, simply by setting up filters that will remove unwanted messages before they even reach your inbox. You can use several email filtering services to block spam, including:
- MX Plan
- Yahoo! Mail
- AOL Mail
- Junk Mail Filter
All of these services allow you to specify which email sources you want to permit; for example, you can allow only the emails from your personal email account on GMX. You can’t use these services to block all spam, however; some of them have features that allow you to block certain categories of spam (such as viruses or porn). The key is to use several different email filtering services to ensure you cover all your bases when it comes to unwanted communications.
Be Careful With What Apps You Download
Apps are mobile applications that can run on your smartphone or tablet. They can be extremely useful and helpful, or they can be malicious and unwanted. It’s up to you to determine which category you want to associate with any particular app. Unless you’re sure about the source, proceed with caution. You can research a particular app’s reputation before downloading it.
Once you have downloaded an app, you must decide whether or not to allow it to access your personal information. You have the option to deny this access completely or to grant the app-specific permissions so it can operate correctly. As a rule of thumb, only give apps that you absolutely trust access to your personal data. If you’re not sure, then don’t hesitate to remove them from your phone.
Back-Up Your Data Frequently
Your data is valuable, and you should treat it as such. Instead of keeping it on a device that could easily be lost or stolen, store it on a separate and secure hard drive or external drive. Backing up your data regularly is an excellent way to ensure that your information will not be lost. When you do get caught up on backups, it’s imperative that you restore them safely and quickly. This way, you will not lose any data and can continue with your day-to-day activities. Many individuals and businesses have fallen victim to data scandals because they did not have backups and were forced to rely on the service to recover their data. To avoid this, make sure you store at least three copies of your data, somewhere secure and offsite.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Last but not least, we have anti-virus software. Anti-virus software is a great way to protect your computer from malicious software (malware) that can damage or tamper with your data. There are many different brands and products available, but regardless of which one you choose, the basic premise is the same: scan for and remove malware before it can do any damage.
Like your email filtering service, your anti-virus software must be configured correctly in order to protect your data. This means specifying which programs you want to scan for and remove, and which ones you want to allow through.
When configuring your anti-virus software, make sure you do not allow any programs through that you are not certain is legitimate. Otherwise, you could potentially allow malicious software through your protection layers and damage your computer. Once you’re sure that your anti-virus software is configured correctly, you can rest assured that your data is safe and secure.
Keeping your data safe and secure is a lot of hard work, but it’s certainly worth it. And the good news is, you can ensure this always by taking the right steps. With these tips, you can secure your data on your computer and feel confident that you are doing everything you need to do to keep your information private and away from prying eyes.
If you follow these guidelines, you will not only secure your data but you will also sleep easier at night knowing your computer is working hard to keep your personal information safe and secure.