Many people are becoming increasingly aware of the concept of personal data. Yet, many people are still unsure how to protect their data.
In this modern world, we are becoming absorbed, surrounded and reliant on technology at an alarming rate. The degree of computerisation, automation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing bring about a whole new socio-economic impact. The benefits are almost immeasurable now, but can we ignore the threats of such a technology-driven environment?
When implementing technology, the first question any individual or a business should ask themselves is: How do we protect the business? Its operations, sales and finances? How do we protect its technical infrastructure; how do we protect the data we hold? How do we give the people who work for us or our clients the trust and confidence to share their critical, confidential, financial or medical data?
These questions have been simmering away across the broad spectrum of Society, growing with enthusiasm and momentum for many years. The result is the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations, coming into effect in May this year.
GDPR seeks to redress the balance of power in favour of the person whose data is being obtained, retained, processed and perhaps shared with others. But, of course, we wouldn’t be happy if someone took a tangible item from us and did what they wanted with it. Imagine someone taking your car or bike without your permission or even knowledge. But unfortunately, many people don’t see data in quite the same light. With GDPR, the balance will shift.
A raft of legal obligations are cascading down on businesses that process data, and there is a need to be able to provide evidence that reasonable measures have been put in place to protect the personal data of clients, suppliers, and employees and prevent unauthorised use, access, loss or corruption.
With this in mind, let’s touch upon some security tools and applications to reduce the risk as much as possible that you should consider essential and no longer an option.
Both software developers and the bad guys are constantly testing software for vulnerabilities. The developer will release Patches to fix the security leak if they identify a vulnerability. Most recently, Microsoft has removed a lot of the user response capability, forcing such updates through as they recognise the risk to the business of failing to patch is far greater than a bit of downtime while the PC restarts!’
Implement a trusted anti-virus/firewall application. This area is a ‘you get what you pay for the environment. You will be hard-pushed to justify a breach if you have relied on a Free tool or break licensing laws by using a non-commercial tool. Again, enterprise-Grade Applications are the only way to go.
Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not share and change it regularly. It would be best if you started considering a different way of working. For example, no longer will it be acceptable to have ‘Surgery 1 and everyone know the login password.’
Do not leave the computer unattended. Lock the user profile when away. Configure mass storage restrictions. Make sure that users are disabled when they leave the organisation and that other codes and door entries are changed – physical security is as essential.
Backing up data is life-saving; ensure you have a local encrypted backup but invest in an offsite secure encrypted online backup. BE CAREFUL; there are a lot of products out there with fantastic headline prices, but you have to make sure they conform to the GDPR regs and encryption rules (and don’t have hidden costs when you need your data back in a disaster scenario!!) Back up regularly and keep a few months/weeks’ worth of backups.
Browse and access trusted links/sites and attachments. Avoid free downloads from unknown sources. Most Ransomware attacks don’t come through browsing the internet. Instead, most come from fake emails with links. These links typically encourage users to turn off the network security, enabling an attack from the inside.
Use secure and encrypted connections to connect to your workplace or remote resources. Again, free or non-commercial products are unlikely to have secure connections. As a result, using them could place your entire network at risk.
Stay up-to-date with the latest information on technology and the security of your data! Look out for e-shots from Microminder – if in doubt, ask!
Stand up against severe threats to your business and personal data. Protect your data to protect your business.
Author: Sandip Parekh is the Service Engineer Manager at Microminder, and he has worked with the team for over ten years. On a day-to-day basis, he is the ‘go-to guy for field and telephone support engineers. He has seen the evolution of technology, capability and risk in his time and speaks with authority about this subject matter.
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