How to keep your data safe and secure

12th June 2017

5 Minutes

These days, people are always connected. Whether it’s checking emails on the morning commute or ordering goods, a big part of our days are spent online. But, with so much to do and so little time, how much attention are we paying to ensuring our personal details are kept safe – and private?

In the UK, it’s estimated we spend £100 million every year on anti-virus software to protect our data, but identity theft and email account hacking is still an issue, so we need to be sure we’re not forgetting the basics when it comes to safeguarding our personal details. We’ve compiled some handy tips to leave you confident that your private work is kept safe and secure whether you’re at the office or out and about.

How to keep your data safe

Regularly update your security

With security software, regular updates are key to keeping cyber-attacks at bay. Older software will not be able to protect your computer or data from the latest viruses and methods used by hackers. Cyber-attacks are growing increasingly complex, and with breeches of major organisations hitting the news on a regular basis, it’s something that needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. To keep up with the most recent threats, you will need to make sure your computer has all the latest updates.

Never click on emails from unknown sources

Hackers are getting cleverer all the time, which is why when it comes to scrolling through your emails, you need to be alert. You may be busy and short of time, but it’s important to always know exactly who an email is from and if it’s genuine. Be wary of unknown email addresses and attachments. Don’t open the attachments and never respond if you’re suspicious of the authenticity. If the email is from an organisation like your bank, you can normally forward it on to the company and request that they confirm if it’s genuine.

Be wary when using public Wi-Fi

Although it’s something many of us do as second nature now in shops, restaurants or cafes, joining a public Wi-Fi network puts you at risk. Hackers can position themselves between you and the access point, meaning you’re sending your data directly to them. This is an increased risk for those who work remotely, or travel for business. If you regularly use public Wi-Fi, make sure to read up on advice around how to keep information secure first.

Back up your data

One of the best ways to protect your data is keep your computer backed up. That way, if you’re the victim of theft or something happens to your computer or laptop, you have a duplicate copy of everything. Remember to back up regularly, or alternatively, set your computer to automatically update.

You can also use an external hard drive as a way to back up your data. This can provide an extra level of security, especially when protected with software that enables only you to access your data.

Protect it with a password

When it comes to keeping passwords safe, the simpler it is, the more likely it is a hacker will be able to break into your system and take your valuable data. Of course, nothing is completely secure, but by following these password security tips, you should be able to protect data and deter an attack.

  • Ensure that your password contains at least 8 characters
  • Use both upper and lower case letters
  • Combine both numbers and symbols in your password
  • Don’t use anything that could be easily linked to you such as names, birthdays, telephone numbers etc.
  • Use different password for each of your online accounts

Be wary when you’re working remotely

Whether you’re sat in a coffee shop or on the train, being aware of who is around you is important – especially when working with sensitive information. Don’t look at anything you wouldn’t want others to see like personal emails or confidential work documents and be sure not to spread your paperwork and anything else important all over the table in front of you.

If you need to work on your commute or in a café, you may benefit from a privacy screen. This goes over your laptop screen and means the information you’re looking at can only be seen if you’re facing it directly, so you don’t have to worry about prying eyes looking over your shoulder.

Take care of physical data

We may be in a digital world, but there is still a place for printed files and documents in the workplace. To make sure no one gets their hands on this precious information, be sure to check everything for sensitive data before you discard it. When you do dispose of any important documents, be sure to use a shredder so anything important is completely distorted. It can also be worth investing in lockable filing cabinets and cupboards if you need to keep any private documentation.

Help avoid compromising your data security by taking these extra measures to ensure your data is safe from any potential threats. If every individual adopts these additional steps towards a secure cyber workspace, the possibility of a cyber-crime can be significantly decreased.

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