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How to Protect Your Data in 5 Simple Steps

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Protect Your Data in 5 Simple Steps
As we find ourselves in an increasingly interconnected digital era, the necessity to protect personal and professional data has never been more critical. Data breaches are not only escalating in frequency but also in sophistication. With cybercriminals employing increasingly sophisticated techniques to access and exploit sensitive information, it's crucial for individuals and businesses alike to understand how to protect their data.

Did you know that over 422 million individuals were affected by data compromise, such as data breaches and data exposure, in 2022 alone? 

Furthermore, a whopping 88% of all data breaches are caused by human error. 

If you are worried about your data, either personal or professional, then you need to start taking steps to protect yourself and your personal information. 

The good news is, that you don't have to be a cybersecurity expert to protect your data effectively. Here are five simple, yet incredibly effective, steps to ensure your data remains secure.

Step 1: Create Strong Passwords

If you are guilty of using an easy-to-guess password, such as your birthday or the name of your pet, then you need to change this right away to something that is much less obvious. 

Make sure you use a combination of lower case and upper case letters and always include both a number and a symbol. 

If you use the same password for multiple sites, this can also make it easier for cyber criminals to access all your personal information. Password management software can help you to remember all your different passwords and help to keep your data protected. 

Step 2: Don’t Use Free Public Wi-Fi 

Lots of public places offer free Wi-Fi, such as travel networks and shopping centers. Whilst this can be useful if you have run out of data, it does make it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to your personal information. 

Most free Wi-Fi networks provide very little in the way of security measures, so, if you can, wait until you get home or you are on a password-secure network before you go online. 

Step 3: Never Save Your Information 

Yes, saving your personal information, such as your name, address, and phone number, can make ordering or booking online so much quicker, but it does come at a price. 

When you save your information, you are much more likely to be affected by a cyberattack. This is particularly true when it comes to saving passwords and credit card details. 

Interestingly, according to experts from SSE, a substantial percentage of online users are unaware of the potential threats tied to storing personal data. They highlight the importance of regular cybersecurity training and the need for online platforms to ensure robust data encryption. Being informed and proactive can significantly reduce the risks associated with online transactions.

Step 4: Back Up Your Data 

If you are subjected to a cyber-attack or your files become damaged, having your data backed up can save you a lot of time and money. 

While taking preventative measures is crucial, it's equally important to have a safety net in case your data is compromised. Regularly backing up your data ensures that you can recover your files if they are lost, stolen, or held ransom in a ransomware attack.

  • Back up data regularly, whether it's to an external hard drive, a secure cloud service, or both.
  • Make sure the backup process is encrypted and the backup data is stored securely.
  • Regularly test the recovery process to ensure your backups are functional.

If you don’t have your data backed up and your data is stolen, you will need to enlist the services of a company that specializes in data recovery London or your local area that will be able to restore any lost or stolen data quickly and effectively. 

Step 5: Report Any Suspicious Activity 

Finally, if you notice any suspicious activity online, such as an email from your bank that doesn’t look right or a website that is asking for personal information it shouldn’t need, then make sure you report this immediately. 

If this suspicious activity takes place at work, then notify your manager or go directly to your cyber security team if you have one. If it takes place at home, then you can either get in touch with your bank directly or notify law enforcement.

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