How to secure personal data?
Until recently, nobody really gave much importance to personal data security online. However, after news broke regarding a wide-scale data breach, millions of users suddenly became enraged and started demanding better protection for their data. While these events have been widely covered by the media, they have actually brought into view a problem that is not exactly unique. Most of the organizations that have critical or personal data of the employees are responsible for not giving enough protection regarding information. Most of the customers don’t have any idea who is in control of their data and the bigger issue is that those who are in charge of protecting the data may not know who has access either.
There are some ways to keep the personal data secure. They are:
• Encrypting personal data- Data can be protected by guarding online transactions with the aid of encryption software that scrambles information sent by the user on the internet. A “lock” icon on the status bar in the internet browser means that the data is secured and information will be safe when transmitted.
• Keeping passwords private- It is recommended to use a strong password on laptops, bank accounts, credit cards, and other accounts.
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• Avoid sharing too much on social media- If too much information is posted by a user on social media, the chance of identity theft increases. Consider limiting access to networking pages to a small group of people. Avoid posting social security numbers, address, phone number, or account numbers.
• Use security software- Using anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall decreases the chances of being attacked from outside intrusions and infections that can compromise computer files or password.
• Avoid phishing email- Avoid clicking on files, download links sent by strangers. Opening a file from a stranger could expose the system to a computer virus or spyware that captures the passwords or other information from the system.
• Use Wi-Fi wisely- Before sending any sort of information online on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, library, airport, hotel, or any other public space, it is extremely essential to check if the network is secured or not.
• Read privacy policies- Privacy policies are long and complex, and most of the time they are too boring to read. But these policies explain how the site maintains accuracy, access, security, and control of the personal information it collects. It also gives an insight that how it uses our information, and whether it transfers information to third parties.
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By Lester Godsey, Chief Information Security Officer, City of Mesa, AZ