In this digital era, people are continuously adapting to new technologies and are getting more tech-savvy. The internet has become essential for work, communications, and finding or accessing information. With just a few taps on phones and computers, other people can access your data easily. But what if there is confidential data that you don’t want to share with others? Are there ways to protect sensitive information?
Here’s the good news: There are security measures and tips that you can follow to secure any confidential or sensitive information. No matter the type of data, protecting your documents and information is important to ensure your safety. If you’re a business owner, leaks or loss of sensitive data can cause serious problems for your business. But before you get to the tips on how you can protect your information, you need to learn more about what sensitive data is.
What is sensitive data?
Sensitive data is classified or private information that should be inaccessible to others unless granted permission. It can be in either physical or electronic form that should remain protected. In legal definition, sensitive data is described as “information that must be protected against unauthorized disclosure, including PII (Personally identifiable information), PHI (Protected health information), and more.” There are three main types of sensitive data: personal information, business information, and classified information. If hackers get to access any of these data, it could cause serious implications to you or your business, which may need difficult cyber security solutions. (1)
While it may seem overwhelming, don’t worry because you don’t need to be a security expert to protect your data from loss or inappropriate disclosure. You can follow this guide in securing and storing your sensitive information:
Evaluate your storage activities and data sharing settings
The first step in securing your confidential data is keeping track of all your devices. Check which devices have sensitive information connected to public WiFi or a home network. Next, ensure that the data you don’t want to share is not stored in your device. If they are uploaded in your online storage drives, make sure that only you can access them. (2)
However, sometimes sending data online via email, file, or link sharing is unavoidable. When sharing files or data over the internet, it’s ideal to have them encrypted first. You can do this by creating password-protected archives and sending the password to the recipient of your email through a different channel. It’s also best to send the password via a messaging app that supports end-to-end encryption. (3)
Encrypt your files and ensure the physical security of your devices
There are many ways you can encrypt your files. Whether you’re transferring your files to backup storage or uploading them to the cloud, encrypt your sensitive data before moving them anywhere else to keep them secure. This way, if other people get to access these, they can’t easily open the files unless they have the password.
It’s also important to secure your passwords for all the encrypted files. Use a difficult password that other people can’t easily guess. In securing passwords, you can either memorize or note them down to easily access files in the future. Be careful, though, not to lose your notes because there’ll no way to recover your encrypted files unless you seek help from IT security services.
Also, it’s ideal to enable full disk encryption on all your devices and install an internet security suite. This way, wherever you transfer your files, you can ensure that they’re protected from viruses or malware. It’s also best to secure your devices to prevent data theft or loss. You can also check out several services for network security to have a secure infrastructure for your devices and applications and avoid unauthorized access or theft. (2)
Handle your data efficiently
It’s important to manage and organize your confidential data to be able to secure it. You can start by organizing your files in different folders on your computer or smartphone and labeling them to allow you to find them easily when needed. You should also avoid mixing your important files with other junk files because it can cause confusion, and you might accidentally delete or share them. (2)
It’s also best to separate your work files from your personal documents to avoid mix-ups, especially if there are confidential agreements that other people outside your work shouldn’t read. You can also restrict confidential data to the office by transferring your files to an external drive and ensuring they’re encrypted to avoid data loss or theft. (3)
Backup all your sensitive data
Lastly, it’s necessary to have a backup of all your important and sensitive data if you lose or accidentally delete your files on your devices. A good solution is physical storage or external hard drives. Or if your files won’t take much storage, you can store them on USB drives for a more convenient option. If you’re worried about accidentally losing access to your passwords or encryption keys, you can also choose to back up the unencrypted copies of your files. But again, you must ensure that your storage drives are secure as your unencrypted files are also at risk of malware if you lose your storage. (2)
Your data is precious, so you must take good care of it. While it can be inconvenient to take all the necessary steps to secure your data, remember that it can be beneficial for you in the long run. It’s always best to keep your sensitive data secured and avoid sharing it with a stranger or the public. By following the security practices mentioned in this blog, you can ensure that your data will be secure, so you won’t have to worry about data breaches in the future.
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- “What Is Sensitive Data? Sensitive Data Definition & Types”, Source: https://www.cpprotect.com/blog/what-is-sensitive-data/
- “9 Practical Tips to Protect Sensitive Data”, Source: https://geekflare.com/tips-to-protect-sensitive-data/
- “7 tips for storing confidential data”, Source: https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/7-tips-on-storing-sensitive-data/41177/