Data Security 101

As technology progresses within the online /cyber community, protecting personal data has become paramount. Information such as banking details, user IDs and passwords, credit card data and Social Security number need to be protected and kept secure. All of these pieces of data have a financial value and can be bought and sold amongst thieves. Yet, the personal and financial damage that can be done to an individual or organization by having this data stolen has far greater costs and consequences and in most cases is difficult and cumbersome to repair or recover from.


Use more than one layer of Protection:


When thinking of the security of data, consider the intruders having to go through doorways in order to get to your information. If you implement just one security measure it will not be as strong as having multiple security measures that would be harder to penetrate. This is known as a multilevel approach and has a much higher success rate than a singular methodology. This model also works very well in case of a security or data breach as it can be used to isolate and identify specific data in a multilayered or multi-chambered environment.


Anti-Virus and Associated Software:


Choosing your antivirus and anti-spyware software is critical as this is part of the base or foundation of your security. Find software that is up-to-date, real time, has reporting features and functionality and can be used manually and automatically. Take your time, do comparisons and read reviews from trusted sources such as and CNet. Keep your software updated and fully functional.


Account and User Restrictions:


Restricting unauthorized use of your computer is another very good step in limiting possible intrusion to your private data. Assign other individuals their own user ids and passwords so they cannot access yours if they are to use your computer. Make sure that your data and files are under your user ID and password only and that they are logically locked away securely. Also when the computer is not in use make sure that it is not removed from the premises without your knowledge. Be cognizant of using external devices or drives as these can be areas of concern as well.


Passwords, Rights and Privileges:


Make sure to use strong passwords and change them every 30 to 60 days. Do not use passwords that can be associated to you such as spouses name, pet’s name, favorite sports team or birthdate. Also use strong passwords for entry into a program or system, to lock down specific applications, data and files where critical information can be kept. Do not use the same password for multiple applications or multiple uses. Do not write your passwords down or give them to anyone.




Encryption is a methodology that is used to take data and basically render it useless (unreadable) accept for the intended recipient. Use encryption whenever passing sensitive or private data back and forth or storing it.


Alerts and Notifications:


Setting up alerts and notifications in case of any changes on the computer or program is another proactive measure in monitoring your security. These measures should be set such that you must review and authorize any changes each and every time. In doing so, you will be able to control and monitor any change in system behavior and ultimately implement or deny the change.


Use a Firewall:


There are firewalls that can be installed directly on your computer which bring an added layer of security when protecting your data from external intrusions. Use a firewall that has a strong security set up and can be customized to your specific needs and browsing habits.


Backing Up your Information:


Be conscious of where and how you backup your important information. Security breaches can happen almost anywhere including databases, archives and recoveries. What type of information you will be keeping also must be considered as if this data is compromised how would this affect you. Make sure to use all the applicable security protocols that we have discussed even when backing up or storing the data.


Transmitting Data:


The environment in which to transfer the data is just as important as the data itself and the security measures taken here should be just as strong if not stronger. Look for SSL certificates, SSH, VPN capabilities, Authentication headers, encryption tools and familiarize yourself with the IP Sec protocol and procedure. Your data must be secured properly and transmitted properly in order for this process to be effective.


Your Responsibility:


It is the responsibility of the individual to keep up with new products, tools and developments within the security space. You must maintain up-to-date security measures in order to stay in pace with the latest security threats. Periodically review your security measures, update and upgrade them as needed to insure that your personal data is protected.




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