With so much of our life being digital these days, it’s hard to keep track of what information is where, and which password works there. Our personal information is scattered all over the place, and nothing is worse than the fear it could fall into the wrong hands. This is an even greater concern if you are running a business that collects others personal data or where the data involved with your business and livelihood is at stake.
Here we take a look at 4 important tips to help you keep track of your data, protect it and when necessary, destroy it appropriately.
Back Up Your Important Files Securely
There’s nothing worse than pouring hours of work (plus your heart and soul) into a project only to lose the data because your computer crashes. This is an important and obvious reason that backing up data is important, but it’s also important to back up and make copies of all important documents and data you receive. Offsite back up is important for businesses that deal with a large amount of data, in order to counteract the risk of onsite data being damaged by a fire or other disaster, or the invasion of a computer virus on your system.
There are plenty of options for data backup, from CD servers to hard drives to cloud storage, which can both protect and store your data, while also being cost effective for your business. For personal home use, external hard drives can be useful to keep large amounts of data backed up in a source external to your computer, and cloud storage offers a flexible and easily accessible form of storage for your personal files and data.
Use Virus Protection
Effective data storage and protection depends heavily on having good anti-virus software on your computer system. The infiltration of a virus, worm, malware or other malicious software can wreak havoc on your computer system in a very short time, leaving you no choice but to replace your entire hard drive, and lose all of your files and documents.
Keeping your computing operating system as well as your virus software up to date is crucial so that these programs are able to recognise the current threats and respond accordingly. Conduct regular virus scans and turn on automatic updating if possible for both your computer software and virus protection software, so you know you’ll always be up to date.
Destroy Sensitive Documents Properly
An important way of ensuring your sensitive data and identity information remains confidential, whether you are a householder or a business, is proper document and data destruction. When at home, a shredder is a useful way to properly dispose of sensitive documents, and a home shredder can be purchased quite cheaply, while still having the capacity to dispose of a large volume of paper documents and even credit cards.
Larger businesses may require the assistance of specialised document destruction agencies to collect and properly destroy documents that contain sensitive information about the company or clients. A confidential document destruction company can also be useful to have on hand for a household when a one-off large volume document disposal is needed such as when moving house or dealing with a deceased estate. Specialised data destruction can also be arranged for items such as hard drives, CDs, DVDs, credit cards, medical records and even X-rays.
Be Aware of What You Open
Email attachments, especially from unknown senders, should never be opened before running them through anti-virus software. Hiding viruses in email attachments is a long-standing method of spreading computer viruses these days and now there are plenty of other scams and tricks nosy no-gooders can use to get their eyes on your personal data. Avoid clicking links on emails to sign into any of your online accounts, as these could be phishing scams to get into your private data.
Scams and viruses are often poorly executed and can be seen through. Most large corporations will not send links in their emails to you, so be cautious if you are sent email with links. When browsing online and entering payment information or passwords, check for the padlock symbol in the browser bar, which is an assurance you are surfing securely and hackers won’t be able to access your precious personal data.