The web is now fully woven into the fabric of our daily lives, and we transition seamlessly from the real to the virtual and back again via the screens that surround us. Despite the growing centrality taken on by our virtual selves, data security remains a criminally dismissed component of the digital environment. An increasingly complex IT environment, dispersed data storage and widespread use of cloud-based data storage can make data security seem overly complex and off-putting for many people.
The good news is that the vast majority of data security failures are preventable with foresight and precaution. Overcoming the seemingly complex nature of data security by understanding the value of Virtual Private Networks or centralising your data security are key steps to creating a secure data environment for any organisation or individual.
In any introduction to data security, first you have to cover the basics. Unfortunately, due to the aura of mystique that a lot of our contemporary virtual environments possess, many assume that a data breach will manifest through an obscure or sophisticated channel. While this can be the case - and we’ll cover the crucial steps you can take to combat that - often data security is let down by something as simple as a weak password. Don’t make it easy for hackers by using basic passwords - unique, complex passwords are the first step to secure data. Many password managers are available nowadays to generate unbreakable keys to your data.
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, effectively creates a “private tunnel” through which you browse the internet. Trust.Zone VPN is often engaged by users wishing to browse the internet anonymously, or to sidestep geographic restrictions on internet access. In a world where net neutrality is increasingly threatened, this has the power to keep the internet free and open. From a data security perspective, the encryption to your own internet traffic provided by a VPN serves to protect your data from potential breaches as it is now hidden from public viewing.
The increasingly complex nature of our data storage creates multiple paths of access for any cyber threats to emerge, as well as posing a barrier to our own understanding of how data security can be achieved. This great dispersion of our data, which can grow daily as data becomes stored far and wide, can be combated by understanding the paths our data travels and finding a centralised solution, simplifying data security by reducing the ways in which a breach can take place.
One of the most common ways you can be susceptible to cyber threats arrives right in your email inbox. Malicious emails are common nowadays and can take many forms. “Spear phishing” takes place through targeted emails that contain some personal information already, in order to encourage a sense of complacency with your data. Often, cyber criminals trawl social media to access this information. Simply following a link or downloading an attachment from these emails can compromise your data security. Being aware of suspicious emails is a key step to take in cyber security.
There are many steps one can take to improve one’s data security, but an attitudinal shift to the risk can make a huge difference. Many people reside in the grey area between thinking a data breach can’t happen to them, or that it’s too complex of a subject to approach in the first place. Taking the step to simply adjust your awareness to the risk and overtly monitoring your data points can greatly reduce the risk of a data breach. If you’re running a website, for example, spam comments or a surge in failed login attempts can signal an attempted data breach. Monitoring these can give you time to call in the professionals.
Securing your sensitive data can seem like an insurmountable challenge in today’s IT environment and the threat of a data breach can come in many forms. However, cybersecurity is a major issue that cannot be overlooked. Overcoming common data security blunders can involve simple steps such as strengthening your passwords or installing a VPN client, enabling you to browse the web with increased security.
Molly Crockett is an experienced marketing writer for Boom essays and Essayroo, where she regularly shares tips and advice for improving and developing social media marketing strategies and ways to increase audience engagement.