Data Security Part II Practical Tips
Our growing dependence on technology, whether at the office, home, or on our mobile devices, demands equal (if not greater) demands for data security. While computers can be enormous time-savers and powerful business tools, they can also leave you, your family, and business open to cyber attacks aimed at gaining critical information.
Business IT Department are busy keeping a vigilant eye on the latest trends in “cyber security,” but this responsibility lies not solely on the IT experts but on individuals as well. This shared awareness means that safety measures must be taken by all family members and by every level of a company’s infrastructure. Leaving yourself open to a data breach can be either unintentional or done knowingly. Here are a few tips for non IT experts to follow on a daily basis to ensure the integrity of the data on your devices.
- Password Management – Believe it or not users are still exercising poor use of password choices. Statistics show that a hacker can access files within 12 seconds if a password is only 5 characters long. The odds get even worse if the password is something personal to the owner. Passwords should have two-factor authentication, be changed routinely, consist of varying number/characters and not be stored on the device. Hard to believe that even in 2015, with cyber attacks up 400% from just a few years ago, that people still use the word “password” as their password!
- Keep your devices locked up – Never leave your laptop, phone, tablet or desktop open to outsiders. This means that all computers should be carefully locked up from outside subcontractors/clients/competitors etc. (like office cleaning crews). They should not be out of your sight when traveling or bringing your devices to client meetings or other out-of-office events.
- Keep current on updates – Make sure that all the existing security settings your computer comes with are turned on. With automatic updates your computer can scan regularly at the optimal level for viruses and spyware. Stay current on spyware and antivirus programs by looking into add-on programs. Bankrate made several suggestion in their latest article on data security. The include: Zone Alarm, Ad-Aware, or Spybot Search & Destroy.
- Be wary of attachments or downloads – Never open or execute any e-mail attachment if you don’t know the person. Spam attacks are getting more polished and hard to identify. Even forwarded messages from friends can contain dangerous URL.
- Be careful when surfing publicly – It is inevitable that using your devices will happen in a public setting whether it is out at dinner with a client or at a coffee shop catching up on work. While it is tempting to open and access files that are on remote computers, realize that you are also opening yourself to a major security risk and are depending on a third party for security.
For even more tips read more at the United States Computer Readiness Team website where they have an extensive resource list for all your data security questions.