Most people have a variety of sensitive information on their computers, tablets, cellphones, and other devices. Just a quick search on your own device might lead to the discovery of your Social Security number, routing numbers, and important passwords.
Though this information might be necessary to have, there are ways to go about protecting it. Should you leave your devices unprotected, cyber criminals will be able to easily hack into your accounts and steal this information, using your accounts to make fraudulent purchases or even sell you information to other cyber criminals.
To prevent this from happening, here’s what you’ll want to do.
Use Unique Passwords
An easy way for hackers to get into your accounts? By continuing to use the same password for all of them.
If you do this, once a hacker steals one password, they’ll be able to enter all of your important accounts. To ensure they don’t compromise your information, you’ll want to use a unique password for each of your accounts. Try using a password randomization tool to come up with a strong password that’s nearly impossible to guess.
You might be worried about having to remember so many passwords, but that’s where a password manager can come in handy. Our favorite is LastPass, which you can learn more about here.
Passwords are the top layer of security for all of your accounts, so make sure you change them often.
Regularly Backup Your Data
One of the best ways to store your confidential data is by backing it up on a regular basis. This way, should it ever be stolen, you can quickly access it and get back into your accounts.
If your data is in one place and one place only, hackers can easily steal it and make it tough for you to get it back. They may even require you to pay a ransom, leaving you out a large sum of money.
No matter the amount of data you’re storing, you should find secure ways to keep it backed up.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires users to prove their identity through multiple credentials before they can access an account.
Typically, a user must provide two or more pieces of evidence when it comes to MFA:
- Something they know, such as a PIN number or the answer to a question
- Something they possess, such as a verification code sent to their device
- Something they are, such as their fingerprints or facial recognition
Once two, or all three, of these factors are confirmed, the user can then access the data or account they need.
MFA adds an extra layer of security to your accounts, making it difficult for cyber criminals to gain access to your information. To safely store confidential data, you’ll want to make MFA a priority.
If you’re looking to learn more about MFA, we discuss its top benefits here.
Use the Latest Antivirus Software
If you’re working with an IT service provider, they should be keeping you up to date on all things cyber security, including the top antivirus measures. Firewalls and these types of software will protect your devices from malware or any malicious cyber threats.
Antivirus is key to keeping your confidential information safe from intruders. Make sure you’re regularly updating your devices and using the latest softwares to keep your systems locked down.
Use a Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a software that creates a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the server at a different location. VPN’s are used for many different applications but mainly are used for businesses to stay protected with remote or traveling employees.
A VPN typically allows you access to your documents or other information you might need to be stored on the server. It protects and hides your IP address from your internet service provider as well as websites you visit. This helps protect your identity and your sensitive data.
Your VPN also creates a private connection from your device to the internet. This protects and hides your data through encryption.
If you haven’t already been using a VPN, and if you do any sort of remote work, you’ll want to look into one.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
Though convenient, these public Wi-Fi networks aren’t always the most secure. Even if you have to enter a password to access the network, the fact that it’s still public means you’re at risk of being hacked.
Cybercriminals can intercept communications between users and their corresponding public Wi-Fi router, making it easy for them to view and steal data. Hackers can also send files infected with malware to your computer should you have file-sharing enabled while using public Wi-Fi.
On top of this, cybercriminals can also create fake Wi-Fi hotspots, gaining access to all of your personal information should you access the network.
If you must use a public Wi-Fi network, check out our best safety tips here.
Train Your Team
All organizations have data and information they need to securely store. However, despite their best protections and regardless of the size of their security budget, they’re still prone to cyber threats.
One of the main reasons why? Their employees.
If you want to securely store your confidential data, every one of your team members should be well-versed in the latest cyber security measures and what to look out for when it comes to hackers stealing their information.
Regular cyber security trainings and open communication with your IT service provider are both great ways to keep your employees up to date on all things cyber security.
Create a Data Classification Policy
If you’re storing confidential data, you and your team members should have a firm understanding of what needs to be protected. Some data may be more sensitive than others, which is why you’ll want to create a data classification policy to share throughout your organization.
From restricted to confidential to public, all types of data can be categorized using this system. This way, you have a concrete way to protect each piece of information you’re storing.
Pay Attention to Your Cloud
Though using a cloud system is a great way to store data, this doesn’t always mean it’s better protected.
You’ll want to ensure your data is encrypted before you even upload it to the cloud. Your IT service provider should let you know who will have access to the cloud, what their backup policy is, and what happens should anyone hack into your cloud system.
Regardless of where you store data, always have a backup and a plan in place should cyber criminals be able to track it down.
Be Careful What You Share
Never send confidential data over email. These messages can easily be intercepted by hackers, giving them access to information you don’t want being shared.
If you need to send information online, encrypt it first, and make sure it’s password protected. Should you ever get a request for information through email, be incredibly careful before honoring said request. There’s a good chance this email is part of a phishing scam.
If you’re looking for help when it comes to storing your confidential data, send us a message and we’ll share our best options with you. Our experts have spent years working with companies big and small, and we’ll make sure your information is safe and secure!