Data protection and security have become a hot topic nowadays, and it’s equally important for all of us to know what data can be processed and what data cannot be processed. (a) Processable Data – Name, address, ID number, passport number, financial data, cultural data, IP addresses, credit card/debit card information or medical data used by healthcare professionals or institutions. (b) Non-Processable Data: Race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political beliefs of membership, and health data (unless there is a compelling public interest).
Protecting our sensitive data from theft and vulnerability in today’s generation isn’t as easy as putting a lock on the file cabinet where you have your files stored. Even if you take every precaution with your sensitive data present on online accounts, there are many ways that sensitive data can land in another individual or company’s hands, where it is made vulnerable to data theft or data leakage.
Organisations and social engineering Hackers are stealing our private words, actions, conversations, and photos and making them public without our consent, without context, and without compassion. What is the big deal about data? How do we take better control of our data online? What has data ever done for us?
Few important things to consider about your sensitive data:
- Whose data is it anyway?
- What could data do for us in the future?
- How do we better control of our online lives?
- Are you in control of your life online? What can you control?
- What information I search for?
- What I don’t want to see? What I look at?
- what I do online? When I go online?
- What I share? Apps which I use?
- Who I talk to? who I connect with?
- What I see?
- What I don’t want to share?
- And who I follow?
Deleting unwanted online – expressions and sensitive data:
Social media, by definition, has a very invasive approach towards privacy and there’s no way to completely block everyone around you. It is up to the end-users, to understand how valuable their sensitive information is and educate themselves on what happens to their personal data if it becomes publicly available. If you have any uncomfortable expressions or data that is posted online, you may use the below links as part of the right to forget law as applicable in the US.
Top 8 data-protection tips:
- Manage & Organise Confidential Data – Organise folders and files on your smartphone or laptop in a way that you can easily find them when needed. Make it a point that you never transfer confidential data from your office to your personal device. If you have a lot of data to be managed, it’s recommended that you use a folder structure tool, so that you can differentiate and sort between personal office and other files.
- Enable Encryption on Your files and Devices – Enabling encryption is a very good choice, and it is recommended to encrypt them locally before uploading them to the cloud. You need to memorise the master password for decrypting the content to access it in the future. There is no way to recover the files if you have forgotten the passwords. You may use the below setups for data encryption (a) Windows: Settings -> Update & Security -> Device encryption. (b) Macintosh: System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> File Vault. (c) Android and iOS, if you are using a password/passcode, then smartphone will be automatically encrypted.
- Backup Your Data – An additional storage drive would be a good solution, but alternatively, it is recommended that you upload the encrypted data to the cloud.
- Use a Password Manager & Enable 2FA – Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all email and social media accounts, you could use either SMS or Token Application as a 2FA.
- Ensure Physical Security of Devices – Ensure unauthorised individuals do not have access to your device, you may be vulnerable to some form of tracking, malware or juice jacking or resulting in data theft.
- Use a VPN When on Public Wi Fi – If you are working remotely and connected to a public Wi Fi network, you could be snooped on, so the best way forward is to use a VPN when on public Wi Fi.
- Keep Your Operating System up to date – Make sure that you regularly update it to the latest software available for the device to safeguard from vulnerability attacks.
- Use Antivirus and Malware Systems – They protect your home devices and your business end points against malware, ransomware, malicious websites, and other virus and advanced online threats.