Are there ways to protect your data? In the current era, where everything is digital, data security is a very serious matter. We store so much personal information online without acknowledging the risks involved. From social networks to mobile payments, everywhere we have stored some kind of personal data which can fall into the wrong hands.

It is due time that data protection is taken seriously by everyone especially individuals and companies dealing with sensitive data. Companies with a mid-level IT infrastructure still store sensitive client data which needs to be secured. In this article, we will give 5 tips which can help you improve the protection of your data.

1) USB Encryption

Before discussing digital data protection, it is necessary to talk about the transfer of data via physical drives. USB flash drives are the main culprits for compromised systems due to malware and viruses stored on public computers. There is a high chance that when you plug your USB drive into a publicly used computer, your USB drive will be infected. One way to prevent this is to avoid plugging your USB drives into untrusted computers.

Another risk related to USB drives is data loss. This can be mitigated using USB drive encryption. Thankfully, this can be done without spending a penny. Whether you use Windows PC or a Mac, both offer integrated encryption options which can encrypt everything stored in your USB flash drive. Windows users can use BitLocker while Mac users can use the Mac OS Extended encryption option.

2) Encrypt your data before uploading it online

Almost all cloud storage services claim that your data will be secured but few guarantee it. So it is better to take matters into your own hands. There are several ways to encrypt your data before uploading it. First, you can use SMiD, a portable device that is extremely easy to use and encrypts all your data on any cloud storage service. A small cost for a lifetime of data protection.

Second, encrypt your data using third party tools which require some IT knowledge and take more time than usual. These solutions offer a good security level too, but will usually require a time-consuming learning curve as they are not as convenient to use.

3) Delete your data securely

Users have a perception that once they have deleted a file from their hard drive, it’s permanently gone. This is a wrong perception because the file is only deleted from the file system but stays in the hard drive. The only way to securely delete traces of your data from your hard drive is to overwrite them with something else. This can be done through various tools available online. It prevents the data from being recovered from the hard drive.

4) Encrypt your passwords

Social engineering is the most popular technique being used by hackers for data theft. It is extremely easy to guess a weak password and steal your data or even your digital identity. Some websites impose the use of strong passwords when registering but they can be hard to remember. LastPass is a great option to securely store your login credentials for any website or account. It is also available as an extension on popular browsers so you can easily manage your passwords. Other options are 1password or keepass, this one is open source and for free.

5) Security for business

Businesses be it small or large have a lot of sensitive data at their disposal. It can be business plans, clients’ data or employees’ data. It is extremely important for them to protect all this data at all cost. Small and medium businesses cannot afford to implement expensive data security measures so they need a cost effective solution.

Businesses using cloud storage can easily look into SMiD which is a cost effective solution to encrypt all their cloud storage data. It is a convenient solution for small offices where IT is not a priority such as lawyers, clinics and so on.

When an IT expert is at your disposal, securing WiFi and internal office network is an option. This requires expert knowledge of systems and network security. This will help encrypt all internal and external communications on the network. Any new device that needs to be connected to the network will require the help of the IT expert in the office. It is again a time consuming method but data protection is extremely important so it is a small hassle to prevent a data breach.

It is important to keep control of your data and information whether you store it on a physical drive or on cloud storage providers. It helps prevent confidential data theft. Remember that, if it happens, your company’s reputation can get a serious hit.

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