A very frequent question we receive from our corporate and individual clients who work with sensitive data is how to better protect and secure that data.
This is evidently an issue that has become increasingly relevant in recent years, and looks likely to only continue to do so.
We’re always happy to provide our clients with extensive and comprehensive advice to ensure and improve their data security.
Here is a brief outline of some of the essential points that may be useful to you, whether you work with/around sensitive data, or are protective of your personal information.
Treat Your Devices As Currency
It’s really important to keep in mind the value of data, in the modern age. This is multiplied tenfold if your work involves handling data, sensitive information, or anything relating to business or security that may be the subject of espionage – which is, we must repeatedly remind our clients, a very real thing.
A perfect example is in a hotel room scenario. Often the first thing we’ll do is put cash, passports, jewellery etc in the hotel room safe. Great – a sensible thing to do.
However this is somewhat undermined when we then leave laptops and tablets out on the side. Often unlocked, easy-to-unlock, or otherwise accessible with sensitive information on display.
In this age of data, our devices are (and contain) a currency, that’s arguably as valuable or more valuable than the actual currency that’s securely stowed in the safe. Put your laptops, tablets and devices in the safe!
Use A VPN
VPN stands for virtual private network, and it is probably the most straightforward way to ensure a high level of security and encryption.
Using one is about improving your online privacy – even when using public networks – and being able to use the internet with anonymity.
Our general advice is to look at the security and encryption levels across the email servers and messaging apps that you use. Specifically, and bluntly, our advice is to get a VPN.
Our advice on choosing and using a VPN is specific and detailed. Get in touch if you want to discuss this in greater depth.
Question Data Sharing
This is about your right to ask organisations who request your information why they want it, and who they will share it with. This is something that they are required to tell you.
Often they slip under the radar, or hide their detail behind simplistic fronts, to ensure they get your data, which is then sold on – very quickly.
A prime example is encountered when you connect to the wifi in a cafe. In our rush to get online we usually simply click the tick box to give agreement to the terms and conditions. Usually what we’re consenting to here is for our information to then be sold on.
As such it could also be argued that this wifi isn’t really “Free” but rather that whilst the price isn’t strictly monetary, we as the users, and our data, are the product and financial incentive in the deal.
Remember It’s Not All Digital!
Data security is largely about bringing cyber security to the front of our minds, to catch up with the rapidly escalating digital age. A prime example of this is – as asserted above – the need to cultivate habits like putting our laptops in hotel room safes.
However, in this process we mustn’t lose our awareness that not all data is digital. Our laptops in the hotel safe is entirely undermined if we then leave a physical piece of paper with sensitive information on it by the bedside, or our credit card sitting on the hotel room desk.
Protecting ourselves in an all-encompassing, multi-discipline endeavour nowadays, and we must be on the ball.