Data Protection – How to Protect Your Data Across Multiple Devices
Modern technology has improved productivity yet increased the need for data protection.
Do you know how to protect your data? Do you even realise the need to protect your data?
We live in an age of advanced technology, high tech communication and unparalleled access to data. We have the ability to transfer or flow data and information across multiple devices at home and at work. From a productivity and efficiency point of view, this is amazing. We can literally work and view information almost anywhere we are located.
Unfortunately, the ease of access to data that we have become accustomed to also allows others to access our information. While most of us use data for work, for entertainment and for daily communications, there are those who would use it for more sinister purposes. Cybercriminals, hackers, disgruntled employees, employees with criminal tendencies, all have the common tendency of corrupting, misusing and stealing that which does not belong to them.
Our information in the hands of the wrong people can cause untold damage. Thus, there is a definite need to understand how to protect your data and why you should take steps to protect it.
How Accessible is Your Data?
In our digital world, information and sensitive data can be found on numerous devices including:
- Desktop computers
- Smartphones & tablets
- Hard drives
- Flash discs
- SSD Drives
- Memory cards
- Cloud Storage systems
- Any other media that has a memory chip for storage
The sheer number of devices or touch points for our data creates many avenues or loopholes and entry points for the wrong people to gain access to our information. Besides the devices themselves, there are also the networks we connect to, wifi networks, VPNs, Bluetooth connections, etc.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Data?
There are two broad aspects to protecting your sensitive data and information.
These come under the headings of Access Control and Secure Data Destruction.
This first aspect of data protection is all about controlling access to your data. Criminals cannot steal or misuse your information unless they can access it.
So the first steps then are to ensure access to your information is controlled by passwords. However, you cannot use just any passwords. You need to make use of complicated passwords that cannot simply be guessed. Many people find this inconvenient and continue to use easy to remember passwords. The loss or misuse of your data will inevitably turn out to be a lot more inconvenient.
So the first rule of how to protect your data should be: “Use complicated passwords that cannot easily be guessed.”
This rule can be added to by saying that you should use multiple passwords for different devices and accounts and not just a single global password.
The next step to take is to use encryption software to encrypt your data. Whether done in a personal or a business environment, encryption is a valuable ‘second’ layer or security.
A criminal, having cracked your first password will then be presented with another password before gaining actual access to your data. While there may be individuals who can crack just about anything, most criminals will be stopped in their tracks if you get Access Control right.
Secure Data Destruction
The next aspect of data protection is how you manage it on devices that you are replacing.
Many people replace their hard drives, smartphones, printers, routers and computers without much thought for the data they contain. Some people wipe their device’s memory thinking it has erased the data, but data is not actually that easy to get rid of.
Anyone with a degree of knowledge about how devices store data – and cybercriminals know a thing or two about this – will be able to dig up old data that has supposedly been erased.
So what are you to do? The fact is, the most secure way to prevent access to your old data on old devices is to have it securely destroyed and then recycled.
However, few people correctly dispose of their e-waste. Some do make use of e-waste recycling services but these are not the same as data destruction services.
E-waste recycling is often about fixing and refurbishing devices, this means that data and information may still be preserved and is thus not secure. While re-using devices may be noble it does not protect you or your data.
From a security perspective then, secure data destruction is the answer. Here, the old device actually gets destroyed, making the data impossible to read. The broken parts can then be recycled but not reused.