Data security is more important than ever, as cyber-attacks and data breaches continue to increase in frequency and sophistication. Businesses and individuals alike must take steps to protect their sensitive information from these threats. In this article, we will provide an overview of common data security threats and discuss 7 data security practices that you can start implementing today.
One of the biggest threats to data security is the growing use of ransomware, which is a type of malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. To protect against ransomware attacks, it is essential to have robust backup and recovery systems in place. This will ensure that you can quickly restore your data in the event of an attack, without having to pay the ransom.
Here are the 7 data security practices that businesses and individuals can start implementing today:
1. Use Strong and Unique Passwords
Recycling old passwords or using the same password everywhere is just like carrying a single key that opens your house, vehicle, workplace, briefcase, and safety deposit box.
If you reuse passwords for more than one computer, account, website, or other private systems, remember that all of those computers, accounts, websites and private systems will be only as secure as the least secure system on which you used that password.
On untrusted computers, do not input your password. A single misplaced key could allow a criminal to gain access to all of the doors. And, remember to update your passwords on a regular basis to keep them current. Also, when choosing a password, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in your passwords.
2. Use Data Encryption
Encryption is one of the most basic data security best practices, but it is frequently neglected. All sensitive corporate data, whether at rest or in transit, should be secured, whether via portable devices or over the network. Mobile systems that will contain sensitive data should employ encrypted disk solutions.
Encrypting the hard disks of desktop systems that store vital or private information would assist avoid the loss of essential information even if there is a breach and PCs or hard drives are gone. For example, encryption file system (EFS) technology is the most straightforward approach to encrypting data on your Windows PCs.
If you use EFS to protect a file, unauthorized users cannot access the content of the file even if they have full access to the device. EFS decrypts a file in the background when a legitimate user opens it, providing the application with an unencrypted copy. The file may be viewed or changed by authorized users, and EFS transparently saves changes as encrypted data. An “Access forbidden” notification will be displayed to unauthorized users who attempt to do the same.
Another encryption tool from Microsoft is called BitLocker. By providing an additional layer of protection to data stored on Windows devices, BitLocker improves EFS. BitLocker offers secure data destruction when a device is turned off, protecting lost or stolen devices from data theft or exposure.
3. Use Endpoint Security Systems to Protect your Data
Endpoints on your network are continuously under attack, therefore having an endpoint security infrastructure in place to deal with them is critical to preventing data breaches. Unauthorized applications and complex malware are two things to keep in mind while developing your endpoint security strategy.
With the rising use of mobile devices, the network’s endpoints are spreading and becoming increasingly indefinite. Endpoint-based automated technologies are critical for reducing malware effectiveness. At a minimum, you should employ the following technologies.
A user must ensure that antivirus software is installed on all servers and workstations. It is also advisable that the user scan the system on a regular basis to keep it in excellent working condition and to remove any viruses.
Firewalls operate as a boundary between data and cyber criminals, making them one of the greatest data protection options. Internal firewalls should be installed for further security.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
These systems ensure that sensitive data is not erased, deleted, or copied while monitoring workstations, servers, and networks, as well as overseeing who is working and transferring data in order to discover unauthorized practices.
Spyware is software that installs itself without the user’s knowledge and is designed to detect the user’s behavior and personal information. Installing Antispyware programs is therefore recommended in order to delete or stop such spyware.
Pop-ups are typically not relevant to applications that run continuously on the system, compromising the system’s well-being and serving no use. To keep the system safe, pop-up blockers should always be installed.
These systems act as an intermediary, allowing permission requests from client applications that require resources from other servers. In this procedure, a client connects to a proxy server and requests some services, after which the proxy server analyzes the request and allows or prohibits it.
Proxy servers are commonly used for traffic filtering and performance optimization since they may block access to sensitive data from the internet.
4. Backup Your Data
Backing up data is one of the most important data security processes, and it is a high priority that has risen in relevance in recent years. With the arrival of ransomware, it is critical to establish a complete and accurate backup that is completely secured, encrypted, and continually updated.
You may find yourself in a scenario where information saved on the device you use is inaccessible due to hardware failure, malware infection, or other factors. Be sure to regularly back up any data which is important to you personally for that’s the only way to save you in such scenarios.
IT industry professionals recommend backing up data on a regular, almost daily basis; nevertheless, this might pose an obstruction in the sense that if a virus already exists in data, backing up could disturb non-damaged files with corrupted ones.
5. Use Multi-factor Authentication
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is widely recognized as one of the most advanced and well-proven data security solutions on the globe. MFA works by adding an extra layer of security before account authentication. Even if the hacker has your password, they will need to produce a second or third factor of verification, such as a security token, fingerprint, voice recognition, or cell phone confirmation.
Employees, despite their best efforts, may make security mistakes that risk data protection; as a result, multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security before validating accounts. Prioritizing this technique is crucial to secure data as much as feasible.
6. Use secure Wi-Fi connections at home and away
The issue of WiFi security should be taken very seriously. If your router is not secured, it is possible for a “bad guy” to access the data on your home computer and any other connected devices. For this reason, we recommend you use a strong password for your WiFi device.
A public network is typically accessible to everyone and is open (unsecured). These networks are accessible in airports, lodging facilities, dining establishments, and coffee shops, typically via a Wi-Fi (wireless) connection. Your online actions and data transmissions can be seen by third parties when you use a public network, and your device may be vulnerable to attacks.
7. Creating Awareness in Employees
Educating employees on why data security is important is the greatest method to cope with their carelessness and security mistakes.
Proper training should be offered to educate employees and make them aware of the company’s data usage policies, as well as to underline that the organization values data security and can aggressively enforce the policy.
Furthermore, with appropriate awareness programs, employees should be reeducated and assessed regularly to reinforce and endorse their understanding.
Security measures are considerable but can’t restrict every action. For example, if employees open each attachment from every email, then it is possible a zero-day attack or any other misconduct that is not listed in antivirus databases could harm the system. The following steps should be accounted for.
- Create awareness about cyber threats the company can face and how they disturb the company’s bottom line,
- Elaborate on the significance of every computer security measure
- Present real-life security-based rupture, their impact and consequences, and how problematic the recovery process is.
- Ask employees to provide feedback for existing security measures system
- Encourage employees to render novel ideas over integrated robust security measures with
- efficient workflow.
Data security is not just the responsibility of IT departments or security professionals. It is something that everyone in an organization should be aware of and take seriously. By implementing the practices outlined in this article, you can help to protect your sensitive information from the growing threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches.
In addition to the practices outlined above, it is also important to regularly review and assess your data security measures. This will help to ensure that your systems and procedures are up-to-date and effective at protecting your sensitive information.