Data breaches are never more prevalent for U.S. organizations and consumers than they are today. In a constantly mobile world, people use their phones and other devices to shop, browse the internet, and conduct other everyday tasks. Businesses, marketers, and even criminals are working hard to gather this data, which is why it’s important for you to know what information is being collected, who is collecting it, and when it is being collected.
To protect yourself or your company from fraud and identity theft, the data security experts at PROSHRED® Washington D.C., a leader in onsite shredding services, have compiled a list of a few simple strategies you can take that are remarkably effective.
Control Who Has Access to Your Information
Information about you is constantly being sought by digital products, apps, and websites. Many requests access to your preferences, location data, contact information, and other personal information in order to provide you with their service. It’s critical to be picky about the platforms on which you want to share data and be cautious of services that request more information than is required. You should also uninstall any unused applications and make sure that current ones are up-to-date to maintain your data security.
Use Strong Passwords, and Change Them Frequently
It should come as no surprise that using the same weak password on all of your devices and programs is a terrible idea. When it comes to keeping your devices, software, and other online accounts safe from hackers, generating unique passwords that are made up of uppercase and lowercase letters, digits, and symbols is a good place to start. Use different passwords on various platforms, and change them on a regular basis. This way, if they are able to get into one of your accounts, they won’t be able to access all of them.
It is becoming increasingly simple to maintain passwords with a variety of strong password management software that encrypts and maintains your data for you. If you are a company owner, urge employees not to leave any passwords in easy-to-find places in their workspace.
Keep an Eye Out for Phishing Schemes
Email and text phishing is on the rise, and it’s one of the most simple ways for criminals to victimize people and businesses. Criminals will pretend to be reputable companies or individuals in order to attempt to elicit sensitive data from consumers or employees by sending emails or text messages. If you’re not familiar with what to look for, similar to if you receive a phone scam, it might be difficult to spot phishing.
The most common indication that something is amiss is the sending address, which will contain a grammatical or name mistake. Avoid clicking on any links from senders you don’t know, as these might lead you to fraudulent sites or malware infection. Employees should be taught how to identify phishing and report them to the IT department as well to ensure that your workplace is fully protected from scams.
Stay Up to Date With Privacy Legislation
Businesses must safeguard sensitive information for a variety of reasons, including both legal and ethical obligations as well as good business sense. Customers are more likely to go elsewhere if the companies they are doing business with have had previous data breaches, which can further harm the reputation of the company and its employees.
Staying up to speed on data privacy laws and regulations is critical in order to avoid fines and minimize the risk of your company being penalized. To assist your team in keeping your customers’ data safe, double-check any relevant data protection rules in your state and create an easy-to-understand outline regarding data security for employees to follow.
Have Your Hard Drives Professionally Shredded
While hard drives can be simply erased and discarded in the nearest dumpster, this is far from the safest method for protecting confidential information. Trace amounts of data are typically left behind on the hard drive, making it easy for data thieves to retrieve it and use it for nefarious purposes. Because of this, it’s considered best practice to have them shredded by a professional hard drive disposal service. This is the only way to be certain that your data is completely unrecoverable and irretrievable. Hiring a reputable hard drive shredding provider will ensure that your hard drives are destroyed in accordance with all federal and state laws.
Don’t Leave Sensitive Documents Unattended
Many businesses deal with an abundance of paper records, many of which may contain critical information about the organization, its staff, and its consumers. Employees should be educated on what to do with material that is no longer necessary, whether in the office or while working from home. Developing a retention plan and instituting a clean desk policy can help. To keep physical documents from growing and becoming a security risk, have an ongoing shredding service come to your workplace on a regular basis to dispose of your physical and digital files. If you don’t know which documents to keep and which to shred, feel free to follow our simple shredding guide.