Better Safe than Sorry: Preventing Your Data From Being Stolen

Better Safe than Sorry: Preventing Your Data From Being Stolen
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More and more people are using computers and the Internet every day as it’s most commonly used for both work and pleasure. But while a lot of individuals use the Internet daily, they are also providing a lot of personal information - from credit card numbers and social security information to addresses and health records. There is a constant threat, and folks may not realize their information is at risk of being stolen and used without their permission. It’s a natural tendency for people not to think about a problem until it affects them. But it’s much easier to prevent something bad from happening than later deal with the unfortunate consequences. Just imagine how bad it can be if somebody uses your credit card number for making purchases or worse, using your social security number for taking out loans, doing something illegal or what’s more. And it all becomes much worse when somebody steals the information from a big company, where personal data of employees and customers are kept. It happens more often than you might think. Such data breaches have a lot of negative consequences, not to mention the loss of trust to the company itself. That’s why it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to proper data protection.

While it might be impossible to predict everything and avoid every danger, there are some basic things every person (and every company) should do to prevent data loss.

Never use really simple and obvious passwords; emphasize to each employee the importance of having a strong password. Each computer should be password protected as you can never be sure who can use it and with what purpose. Be especially careful when you have a portable laptop– it can be stolen, or you can simply forget it in a taxi or airport, - that’s why one should always create difficult-to-guess passwords. Also, never forget to log out of your email account, especially the one you use at work! The same applies to every account, even social media channels, as someone might write something unwanted on your behalf.

Next, always keep your software up-to-date and have good licensed anti-malware that can spot viruses immediately. Also, be careful while using somebody else’s USB on your computer and try not to stick your USB into another computer as well, - find other ways of sharing information, like Dropbox or Hightail. Unauthorized use of USBs should be prohibited at work. A good idea might be to organize a seminar for employees explaining the importance of data protection and the best practices to avoid a data breach. All data should always be encrypted, especially confidential information, whether it’s on your personal or working computer. Employees shouldn’t share such information with anyone who isn’t involved in a specific project and should sign a legal document on the confidentiality of the information and responsibility for data protection. But, of course, every person can make mistakes, so if an employee accidentally did something that caused data leakage, he or she should be encouraged to report on that with no further punishment if it’s done immediately.

Every company should also make sure that it’s compliant with all the legislative regulations regarding data protection. Such rules and principles can help create a clearer security strategy. There should also be a plan of what to do if a data breach does happen. At times a quick reaction might help lessen the damage. Panicking is never helpful in any stressed situation.

Finally, it’s beneficial to read about data losses; how and why they happen, what could have been done to prevent them, etc. In such a way, we can learn from somebody else’s experience and gain valuable knowledge, and knowledge is a power and a tool we can use against the ‘enemy.’

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