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Essential Checklist for a Regular Data Security Check

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Whether you are an individual or a big organization, data security should be one of your primary concerns because of the rise in cases of data breaches worldwide. If you take a look at the news, you’ll find an increasing number of companies being targeted and the devastating after effects it can have.

People have started taking their work online due to the pandemic, and this has led to increased connectivity, thus giving rise to more data breach opportunities. The recent cybersecurity attacks worldwide have often been a result of simple security measures that are often overlooked.

Data security can comprise a wide variety of things, and you may be confused on how to start taking your security into your own hands. If you maintain these few essential data security measures that we have compiled after scouring the Internet, you should be able to keep your data safe and protect your device from most attacks.

Use Antivirus Software on Your Devices

Most of you may have heard of antivirus software before. Using antivirus software on your devices can prevent attacks from malware that intend to steal your data. A good antivirus can scan and detect infected files before running them.

Also, some antivirus software comes with its own firewall solutions that are often better than the default ones included with the operating system. These are great for the safety of your personal data, as they block malicious sites that infect your PC in order to breach your data. Keep in mind that it is essential to keep your antivirus and virus definitions updated so that it can combat the latest malware out there.

Encrypt Your Data

Avoid-Suspicious-Emails
Image credits: Michael Treu/Pixabay

Encryption is a great way to avoid breaches in your data. When you encrypt your files, a unique encryption key changes the code into an unreadable format that cannot be accessed or used by hackers. Only the owner of the encryption key can get into the files. You can apply encryption to most of your devices, including your mobile phones, database, and email communications in case you are a business.

Keep Software and Security Systems Updated

Your workplace or personal devices should always run the latest software that is available for them. Loopholes and issues that hackers can use to access your data are found in most software on a daily basis. These often get patched out the same day by the developers and the updates are pushed to the end-user.

Security applications can only prevent attacks that have been found out till their last update. Overall, keeping your operating system and other software installed on it up to date should be one of your major concerns.

Avoid Suspicious Emails

Malware being spread through emails is common these days, and this can be avoided if you can differentiate legit emails from fake ones. Phishing scams, malware-infected files, and links to web pages are becoming more common. Some of the easy ways to avoid these are to check for obvious spelling mistakes in professional emails, Suspicious links, and files sent by unknown third parties.

Use Strong Passwords

Making a strong password for all of your access points can make it exponentially difficult for the hacker to get past it. The accepted norm for the best passwords is that you should make it at least 8-12 characters, and have alphabets, symbols, uppercase, and lowercase characters, and numbers in it. One more thing to keep in mind is that you should never reuse your passwords on different services.

You should also avoid using personal information as your passwords. It is also a good practice to change your passwords every few months if you have sensitive data in your accounts. In case you have difficulties remembering all of your complicated passwords, then you can start using a password manager to store and secure all of your passwords in one place.

Use Multi-Factor Authorization

Multi-Factor Authorization or MFA is one of the best ways in which you can protect your accounts and data. MFA provides additional layers of authorization when logging in to your accounts. This can involve answering a personal question that you set up yourself, using another device to authorize, OTPs, and email verification.

Even if a hacker gets access to your passwords, it is very unlikely that they will be able to breach your data unless they can get past all the layers of authorization. Most modern services enable MFA, and it is always a good idea to use it.

Make A Data Recovery Plan in Advance

Make-A-Data-Recovery-Plan-in-Advance
Photo credits: Michael Geiger/Unsplash

With dangerous malware like ransomware being spread at an increasing pace in recent times, it has become essential to keep your data backed up. Ransomware specifically affects your data and encrypts them to demand a hefty sum from the victim in order to decrypt it again. In most cases the sum they ask for is irrational, and there’s no guarantee that they will decrypt the files even if you pay them.

Having your data backed up in a secure place that is in no way connected to the infected device can help you to start anew. After cleaning the infected device, you can restore your data and implement better security measures to prevent ransomware attacks in the future.

Dispose of Unused Files and Data

If you take a closer look at the files stored on your devices, you can find many unused files just sitting there. Even if you don’t have a purpose for these files anymore, in case your device gets breached, the hackers can extract personally identifiable information. There can be files that you are unaware of in which you may have stored personal information.

Getting rid of unused and redundant data can also help you to find your files with ease. For both individuals and small businesses, the data should not just be deleted, but also shredded using dedicated tools, as when you delete something on your device it doesn’t just pop out of existence.

Conclusion

Data security is an important measure that you need to adapt to with recent technological advancements. Most of the breaches on data for both individuals or businesses are caused due to negligence and lack of awareness. With the help of the tips listed above, you can start securing your data today, so that you don’t have to face the myriad of issues that come with data breaches in the future.

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