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Best Tips & Tricks for DIY Data Protection

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Best Tips & Tricks for DIY Data Protection

Data Protection is the relationship between the collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, legaland political issues surrounding them

Whether you are a business or home user, there are many different techniques, tips, and tricks that you can use to build some of your own DIY data protection barriers.  Some of the techniques do cost a bit – the purchase of a piece of software or a service – but we’ve wrangled up a list of tricks that, mostly, keep costs to an absolute minimum, while maximizing your data protection.

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1. Keep Truly Secret Things Off of the Network

We’ve all heard the stories about Coca-Cola’s secret formula being known only by 3 people who can never travel on the same plane together.  Or the story about how the KFC Colonel’s secret recipe is buried inside a bit of concrete wall at KFC headquarters.

While these stories may tend more towards the urban legend category than wholly true, there’s an important lesson: things that are truly trade secret or so critical you can’t afford to have them exposed should be kept off of a network.  This can mean a completely un-networked standalone PC (ideal), a stick drive or external hard drive (less ideal, unless storing it under lock and key), or in a heavily-encrypted file with multiple passwords to access.

2. Ensure You Are Using Good Password Habits

Most people know you should use different passwords for all of your different accounts and logins, but few practice it.  This means that if one password is compromised, it’s very easy to compromise many of your other accounts.  If managing a million different passwords is too much on your own, there are many good third-party utilities from trusted vendors that can store your passwords, and act as an intermediary.

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These systems have their own shortcomings, of course, but are a good middle ground.  And, at a minimum, a good DIY data protection trick is to make sure you update your passwords periodically – and NOT just after you’ve had a breach.

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3. Secure Your Network

Whether it’s your home router and cable modem, a cellular data hotspot, or an office network, be sure you fully secure your network.  Routers and other network devices should have their passwords and logins changed from the defaults.  Physical access to network hardware should be limited if possible.

Network SSID broadcasts should not be obviously named to link to you – either as a business or your last name/residence address as an individual.  And you should always use robust security such as WPA2 or better for your network.  Additional steps, including user credential databases and certificate authentication for business networks are also warranted.

4. Protect Against Malware and Phishing

You should be sure you have a quality anti-virus and anti-malware program installed on your computer(s) – something with active scanning and data execution prevention.  This will help prevent malware, sketchy or infected downloads, and other of the more well-known and obvious attempts to insert malicious code or programs onto your system.  At the same time, using a reputable e-mail provider and client, that will quarantine or flag obvious spam or phishing attempts, is a good way to start protecting your data.

5. Educate Yourself and Your Employees

Education can be a powerful tool in protecting yourself and your data.  As an individual or as a business, occasional seminars on how to spot fake e-mails, how to avoid dodgy websites, and other best practices for Internet and e-mail use can help reduce the pathways for hackers and other bad actors from getting access to your system or data in the first place.  At the same time, enforcing rules for passwords, limiting physical access to equipment, and disabling user accounts concurrent with employees leaving or being terminated are all important steps.

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6. Consider Cloud Hosting

Data protection includes more than just security – it also includes guarding against data loss.  One way to hedge against data loss, and gain powerful active security at the same time, is to consider a reputable cloud hosting provider.  Major players like Azure from MicrosoftAmazon AWS, and similar offer reasonable cloud hosting costs and plans for storage needs of all sizes.

Your data is secure, backed-up, and protected by a team of dedicated professionals, with the network and servers being monitored 24/7, utilizing sophisticated firewalls and anti-intrusion methods.  It can seem counter-intuitive to gain safety by turning your data over to someone else – but between the automatic and redundant backups and the added layer of safety, it can be well worth it.

7. Backup.  Backup.  Backup.

And speaking of backups – even if you are not using a cloud hosting service, you should ensure you have multiple means of frequently backing up your data.  Whether you’re a home user, or a business running their own server(s), both collective data on networked devices and individual workstation data should be backed up on a regular basis.  This can include using NAS devices, external hard drives, or online backup services like Mozy and similar.  Just be sure to take care in what you do with your backups, and how you treat them, or you open yourself up to more vulnerabilities.

8. Use a VPN Service

Finally, to protect yourself and/or your employees online, you should consider using a VPN service.  There are many providers to choose from, offering plans of varying sizes for individual consumers and businesses.  These services run as a client or app on your computer or phone.  They encrypt all outgoing network traffic with military-grade encryption, which then goes to the VPN’s servers.  It is decrypted there and routed through one of their servers and IP addresses before it goes to its destination.

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Therefore, the servers you access don’t see your real IP address.  Government monitors, ISPs, and hackers can’t decrypt your activity between your network access point and the VPN servers, either.  Many providers also offer additional security and protection tools as part of their subscription plans.  The best VPN providers also don’t break the bank, with individual plans supporting a handful of devices generally costing $7-15 per month at most.  So you get security, anonymity, and privacy online, at a low cost – talk about a win-win!

So, what do you think about this? Simply share all your views and thoughts in the comment section below. For the latest tech,social media news and reviews, follow firebebble.com on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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