In today’s enterprise, computers and the internet are such a huge part of our day to day that it becomes difficult to keep up sometimes. Impact Tech Tips is designed to bring you all the technical insights and tidbits that every company should know. Today, we continue our series by covering something all financial and insurance agencies should be concerned with: data security.
Does your business allow you to work on your personal laptop or mobile device, whether at home or in the workplace? If so, you’re part of a new trend called “Bring Your Own Device.” And, when implemented without following generic security principles, a single lost device could cost your business thousands. A study conducted by Kensington Computer Products Group concluded that the average loss for a single laptop can exceed $49,000, depending on the data lost with it. Scary, right? It doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of methods to increase security against data loss, but the biggest three are strong passwords, encryption, and backups.
The first step is easy. Use a secure password; your name with 1! added at the end won’t stop anyone. Neither will your name with letters substituted with numbers. Besides, no one wants to try and remember B@xt0r2! The best way to secure a password is to make it long and random. As a sysadmin, the following comic is our go-to in getting this point across. Go ahead and read it! We won’t tell your manager.
The second step is to secure the data that is stored on your device. Encryption scrambles how the data is written to your device. This data is completely gibberish to anything looking at it directly. The only way to read it is with a special password “key.” This is generally entered when you turn on the computer and lasts until it’s powered off. There are many different ways to encrypt sensitive data, but most operating systems today have easy-to-use methods, such as Windows BitLocker and Mac OS X FileVault.
Now, while we would love to tell you how to encrypt your data, this is a process best left to your company’s IT professionals for a couple of reasons. For starters, Windows requires a specific OS license to use it. But, ironically, the biggest concern is because of what encryption sets out to accomplish: if you don’t have your key or password to unlock your data, that data is gone. After all, that’s the idea! But don’t hesitate to talk to your IT department and let them know you’re interested in encryption. It’ll make their day, trust me.
Backing up is everything! Simple as that. Whether you’re “copy” and “pasting” to another location or running scheduling software, nothing can avert data loss better than having current backups. And it’s easier than ever to set up. For Windows, go to your start menu and just type “Backup.” For Mac OS X, press Command+Space and type “Time Machine.” Each one is straightforward: tell it what to backup and where to keep it.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be better prepared for any disaster that could take place!