Businesses have long emphasized the importance of protecting your login credentials, bank account and financial information, and other personal information from intruders. It is becoming increasingly important for organizations, customers, and internet users to follow strict data security procedures to safeguard sensitive data and personally identifiable information (PII). However, if you’re not tech-savvy, you may find yourself helpless and confused when faced with the challenge of protecting sensitive data and devices from a possible hacking attempt. Whether you’re an individual or a business, following a few easy strategies will help protect sensitive information and devices from rising security threats.
Hire Cybersecurity Professionals to Protect Organizational Data
Securing organizational data and customer information is one of the top priorities for businesses that operate in a fiercely competitive digital marketplace. It has become necessary for all organizations, particularly businesses that operate online, to create a dedicated information security department. Cybersecurity specialists’ primary areas of concern include implementing security policies, detecting data exposure and points of compromised security within a network, implementing firewalls and data protection techniques, data backups and recovery, and conducting comprehensive vulnerability testing. Hire professional cybersecurity specialists to apply state-of-the-art security standards.
Cyber security consultants are industry experts who have in-depth practical knowledge of how to secure networks, software, operating systems, and devices secure from data breaches. Organizations get services from cyber security consultants to get an expert opinion on security policies and data security mechanisms. Cybersecurity consultants also train and guide security professionals and work for more than one organization. The experienced and well-qualified cyber security consultant salary ranges start from $102,000 to $110,000, with a 33% expected growth rate in the field by 2030. To become a cyber security consultant, you can opt for an online master’s degree in the relevant field, get industry experience, and earn cyber security certification.
Employ PII Substitution Techniques
Personally identifiable information (PII) refers to data that contains specific identifiers like login credentials, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, date of birth, etc., as well as social security numbers, bank account information, credit card information, passport IDs, internet data, biometric information, healthcare data, and other personal information of individuals.
Nearly all businesses require personally identifiable information of employees and customers to operate, market their brand, generate leads, and sell products. However, securing PII is a significant concern for consumers and a necessity for businesses to comply with e-commerce business standards and avoid major penalties. This is why businesses must take proactive measures to safeguard this information against data breaches. Following are some easy strategies for both businesses and individuals to secure personally identifiable information over networks and the internet:
There are a variety of data encryption techniques that cyber security professionals use to ‘encode’ the outgoing data into unidentifiable information. Cyber security experts use a cipher or data encryption algorithm to encode and decode data. However, the encryption mechanism and key are kept private so that the hacker stays unaware of how the data is encrypted and fails to decrypt data. With modern tools and technologies available, it is easy for anyone to encode data before sending it over the internet. The all-new Web 3.0 is equipped with the latest encryption techniques and promises secure data transmission over the internet.
Data scrambling is an easy but less effective PII substitution method where data is simply ‘scrambled’ or jumbled up to make it unclear. For this purpose, the sender rearranges the characters in the personal information on purpose to conceal it.
Simple Data Substitution
In a simple data substitution method, users can substitute accurate personal information with fake, obscure data, called ‘placeholder data.’ This data can effectively transform information and make it hard for outsiders to interpret. A simple example is a bank sending your account information via SMS or email. You receive letters and emails with account numbers mentioned as “xxxx89730xxx”. Apart from a partially identifiable chain that an authentic user can easily recognize, the sender hides the rest of the information.
Noise insertion is another effective substitution mechanism to make the data unidentifiable. Security professionals insert a random quantity of noise into each field while retaining some degree of authenticity to disguise the data as something inadequate. However, you need to handle such data with extreme care to guarantee that a potential hacker cannot identify the real information hidden underneath the noise.
Backup Data on Cloud
Backing up your data is one of the simplest yet frequently forgotten data protection measures. Backing up data means creating a copy of the target data on another device or server. Cloud storage makes it possible to back up your data on a remotely located server. This way, you can quickly recover your data from the cloud even if you encounter a data breach. Cloud storage automatically synchronizes your data on a device, network, server, or computer. This means that whenever you make any changes to your existing files or add new ones, the cloud storage server automatically backs up the latest version of the files and uploads new files. You can keep the latest data backup without explicitly planning it.
Enable Dual or Multi-Factor Authentication
Dual and multi-factor authentication has been a successful strategy worldwide to secure private information and login sessions. In a simple 2-factor authentication mechanism, users must go through at least a two-stage verification process, including login credentials and either a one-time password (OTP) or a biometric verification. Multi-factor may have various verification steps depending on the type of information and level of security needed.
Secure Internal Network and WiFi Connections
Implementing network security is a primary concern for businesses throughout the globe. Organizations must be prompt in detecting intrusion attempts and blocking unauthorized connection requests to web applications and internal networks. WiFi connection security is also essential to establish a secure use within the brick-and-mortar vicinity. Cyber security professionals employ hardware and software firewalls on web servers and applications to secure internal networks and web applications. In a sophisticated network facility, cyber security experts use intrusion detection systems and AI-powered algorithms to monitor network activity and detect intrusion attempts.
Avoid Using Public Networks
Public networks are open networks, and anyone can connect to them. A typical public network is jam-packed with malware and hackers fishing for unprotected devices. Since you cannot avoid hacking attempts on a public network, the easiest strategy to prevent a data breach is to steer clear of public networks altogether.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection creates a secure link between a device and the internet. Using a VPN serves a variety of benefits. It routes all your data traffic on an encrypted virtual tunnel. It asks for your IP address to make you invisible to hackers, government authorities, and other networks. While VPN protects your data and personal information, it also allows you access to various applications otherwise blocked by regulatory authorities.
When you delete a file on your hard disk or storage devices, the device only removes the file’s link, but the binary information stays intact. Hackers and data recovery experts can easily retrieve old deleted data from any storage device. To keep your sensitive information secure from a data breach, try overwriting your storage device and overwhelm it with new data before formatting storage devices. This way, the previous data will be overwritten and become unrecoverable by hackers.
Update Operating System
Software and operating system security updates come with the latest encryption techniques and novel data security mechanisms. So next time you get a notification for security updates on your computer or mobile devices, try to install the updates as soon as possible. Apple devices and computers generally rely on the operating system for security updates. Therefore, OS updates for devices with iOS and macOS are one of the most effective ways to enhance and upgrade the security of your devices.
Avoid Saving Login Credentials on Shared Computers and Devices
Most data breaches occur due to human negligence and unintentional data leaks. The software creates a log file on your local storage when you save your login credentials on internet browsers and web-based applications. It saves your credentials and auto-fills where needed. To keep your sensitive information safe, avoid using the autofill options or saving your login credentials within internet browsers and web-based applications. In addition, try to keep your Bluetooth disabled when you’re not using it. Keeping separate devices for work and personal use also helps protect sensitive personal information and mitigate data breach attempts.
Data security has become a significant concern for businesses, consumers, and individuals worldwide. With the cybercrime rate skyrocketing to new limits, using effective data encryption and security techniques has become inevitable. These easy strategies will help businesses and individuals safeguard their personally identifiable information and critical organizational data.
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