Protecting data against physical, online security threats
Although awareness of emerging online security threats is important, it appears as though a number of individuals may be neglecting common sense fundamentals in the process.
Whether at home or in the office, the excitement of installing innovative new programs or gadgets can often overshadow the importance of responsibly taking outdated technologies out of service. Once an employee is provided with a sleek new laptop, for example, few show concern for the clunky desktop that is finally finding its way to a nearby dumpster. This seemingly harmless oversight could be costly though, according to eWeek columnist Fahmida Rashid.
In their haste to make way for new devices, too many neglect the important process of migrating or deleting the data held on the discarded utilities. Failure to do so, according to Rashid, can heighten the risk of data breaches, compliance violations and reputational damage. The columnist cited a noteworthy example from earlier in the year in which the New Jersey State Comptroller's Office unwittingly auctioned off a fleet of computers that still held the Social Security numbers of thousands of citizens.
Although IT administrators are primarily accountable for incidents in the workplace, employees face similar identity theft risks when managing their personal data at home. But instead of overwhelming themselves with technical concerns, consumers may be better served by framing online security issues in a more approachable manner.
"If a burglar breaks into your house, will she find your valuables lying around in plain sight? Or have you hidden them away safely?" asked PC Magazine staff writer Neil Rubenking in his latest column. "Even if you don't anticipate burglary, hiding your treasures makes sense. By the same token, even though your security suite or antivirus really should fend off data-stealing Trojans, protecting your personal data on the chance one might get through is just common sense. Having your data locked down will also help if that burglar makes off with your laptop."
Implicit in Rubenking's recommendations is the need for adequate password protection. From login screens to email accounts, employing these virtual padlocks can make all the difference. And for those users doubting their ability to generate and recall unique passwords for each account, it is better to utilize a password manager tool than risk spreading the same credentials across a variety of systems.