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10 Best Ways to Protect Your Personal Data

Philip Robinson | 7 min read| Updated On - June 27, 2024

Protect Your Personal Data

The financial implications of a data breach can be devastating, with companies facing an average loss of $4.45 million per incident. The causes of data breaches are varied, including human error, such as lost or stolen devices, malware infections, or unauthorized access, as well as intentional attacks by malicious insiders or external threat actors.

Best Practices to Protect Your Personal Data

In this article we will look at the 10 most notable ways to protect personal data from unauthorized access.

1. Encrypt your personal data

Encryption is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your personal data secure. There are two types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Symmetric encryption uses the same key for both encryption and decryption, making it faster and more efficient. Asymmetric encryption uses separate keys for each, prioritizing security and accountability.

Two popular encryption tools are AxCrypt and VeraCrypt. AxCrypt is an open-source software available on various platforms, offering AES-256 file encryption, flexible features, and a free and premium version. VeraCrypt is a free and open-source utility that provides on-the-fly encryption, allowing users to create a virtual encrypted disk, encrypt a partition, or the entire storage device with pre-boot authentication.

2. Secure mobile devices

Below is a summary of the best practices for securing mobile devices:

  • Enable user authentication and screen lock: Turn on password or PIN lock to protect devices.
  • Use strong, unique passwords: Use a password manager to generate and store secure passwords.
  • Regularly update operating systems: Stay ahead of security vulnerabilities by updating software regularly.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi and use VPN: Encrypt internet activity using a VPN instead of using public Wi-Fi.
  • Implement Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy: Set up a policy that includes remote lock and data wipe in case of device loss or theft.
  • Back up cloud data and maintain version history: Regularly back up data and maintain a version history of files.
  • Use Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM): Configure, monitor, and manage devices and applications securely using MDM and MAM tools.

3. Backup your data

Backing up your personal data is crucial for reducing the risk of data loss. A backup can safeguard your files against hardware failures, malware, and ransomware attacks, allowing you to recover previous versions of your files in case of disaster. Having a backup in place can provide peace of mind, enabling you to access your files from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. To create a successful data backup plan, it’s essential to prioritize critical data, choose the right backup method, store backups in a secure location, and regularly test them. Additionally, keeping your backup plan up-to-date and reviewing it regularly is vital to ensure it remains effective as your business evolves.

4. Secure your wireless network

To secure your business WiFi, it’s essential to take a multi-layered approach. First, change your WiFi’s default settings by creating a unique SSID and password, and avoid using publicly available information about your business. Use a strong and unique password with at least 20 characters, including numbers, letters, and symbols. Additionally, create a separate guest network and turn on WiFi encryption, such as WPA3. Implement a router firewall, disable remote access, and keep your router’s software up to date to prevent hackers from gaining access to your network. You will also need to ensure that your router is physically secure by storing it in a safe location and out of sight. Finally, consider upgrading to a VPN connection to provide an additional layer of security, especially for remote workers.

5. Use a firewall

A firewall acts as a gatekeeper, monitoring and controlling network traffic, preventing threats, and ensuring data privacy and compliance. A basic firewall provides several benefits, including:

  • Monitoring and filtering network traffic to prevent threats
  • Preventing virus infiltration and neutralizing sophisticated viruses
  • Blocking unauthorized access to sensitive data
  • Ensuring data privacy and regulatory compliance
  • Providing comprehensive logs of access and activity to maintain trust and prevent legal complications

6. Set up multi-factor authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) provides an additional layer of security that offers numerous benefits, including protecting user identities and meeting regulatory compliance requirements. MFA also complements Single Sign-On (SSO) solutions. With MFA, even if a user’s login credentials are exposed, the additional verification steps ensure that the end-user is verified, making it difficult for hackers to access sensitive data. The measures implemented in MFA, such as TOTP, Google Authenticator, and more, make it a challenging task for hackers to crack.

7. Manage passwords securely

To ensure effective password management, it’s essential to adopt a multi-layered approach. Only use passwords when necessary, and consider alternatives such as single sign-on (SSO), hardware tokens, and biometric solutions. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible, and use account lockout or throttling to prevent brute-force attacks. For added security, prioritize protecting access to user databases, privileged accounts, and corporate web apps. Ensure that all authentication uses HTTPS, and consider using password blacklisting and security monitoring to prevent common attacks. Additionally, encourage secure password storage and avoid sharing passwords. Provide users with password generation tools and guidance on choosing difficult-to-guess passwords. Finally, prioritize the security of high-value accounts and emphasize the risks of password reuse across work and personal life.

8. Watch out for phishing attempts

When it comes to spotting phishing attacks, it’s crucial to be vigilant and take immediate action. Be wary of emails with poor grammar and spelling errors, as well as unfamiliar greetings or salutations. Scammers may also try to trick you into divulging sensitive information, such as login credentials, payment information, or other confidential data, by asking for it directly or pretending to need it for some urgent matter. Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true, as they often are. Additionally, be suspicious of unsolicited attachments or files and pay attention to inconsistencies in email addresses, links, and domain names.

9. Regularly patch/update your software

Regular software updates and patch management are essential to prevent vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of system compromise. Below are the key steps to take for effective patch management:

  • Inventory and consolidate systems: Identify all devices and software that require patching
  • Categorize and assign risk levels: Prioritize patches based on severity of vulnerability and likelihood of exploitation
  • Monitor vendor patch announcements: Stay up-to-date on the latest patches and updates
  • Automate patch management: Streamline and simplify the process
  • Test patches before applying: Ensure they don’t cause unintended consequences
  • Create a backup before applying patches: In case something goes wrong
  • Apply patches as soon as possible: Ideally within a short timeframe after release
  • Document and record patching process: Ensure compliance and audibility

10. Monitor access to personal data

Just as a bank’s security team needs to monitor the bank’s physical premises to ensure the security of its assets and customers, security teams need to monitor sensitive data to prevent unauthorized access or misuse. With data monitoring, teams can gain a holistic view of how and why data is being used. A data-driven organization should leverage a real-time data monitoring and auditing software to maintain transparency and compliance within their ecosystem. The solution should automate surveillance activities, allowing teams to monitor user actions without manual intervention, and provide a comprehensive view of data usage. Additionally, the solution should send automatic alerts to notify teams of any anomalies or issues, enabling swift response to potential problems. Finally, the tool should compile compliance reports and audit logs to facilitate adherence to data compliance laws and regulations.

How Lepide Helps Protect Sensitive Data

The Lepide Data Security Platform offers a comprehensive solution to safeguard sensitive personal data by consolidating identity and data security under one roof. By leveraging advanced analytics, it enables organizations to monitor and understand user behavior, identify potential breaches, and proactively address areas of risk. This unified platform not only streamlines data security management but also reduces the threat surface by consolidating visibility, access control, threat detection, and classification into a single, intuitive interface. With real-time threat detection, automated threat response, and user behavior analytics, the Lepide Data Security Platform provides a robust defense against data breaches and security threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of personal data.

If you’d like to see how the Lepide Data Security Platform can help to keep your personal data secure, schedule a demo with one of our engineers or start your free trial today.

Philip Robinson
Philip Robinson

Phil joined Lepide in 2016 after spending most of his career in B2B marketing roles for global organizations. Over the years, Phil has strived to create a brand that is consistent, fun and in keeping with what it’s like to do business with Lepide. Phil leads a large team of marketing professionals that share a common goal; to make Lepide a dominant force in the industry.

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