All big businesses have the same essential understanding today. Data is the most valuable thing in the world. It is through the gathering and usage of user data that social media companies have made billions of dollars. It is using the services provided through this process that companies big and small have created extremely successful and affordable marketing campaigns.
With that in mind, the way most of us treat our data is alarming. We are all at least somewhat complacent, not backing up our data often enough and leaving it vulnerable to being stolen. We ignore privacy settings and don’t take strong steps to prevent cyber crime.
If you feel like you’ve been too com-placent with your data, here are 3 crucial ways to secure it.
1. Protect your devices
When we think about data in 2022, our minds inevitably go straight to the cloud. However, there is a much more fundamental way of losing our data or having it stolen: theft of physical devices. Our phones, tablets, and laptops are all vulnerable.
You can get excellent laptop insurance included with your renters insurance. That will at least cover the financial loss you face if your laptop is stolen. But what about your data?
Ideally, you should protect your devices from being stolen in the first place. Do not leave your smartphone unguarded on the table while dining out. Do not leave your laptop with only a stranger to keep an eye on it. In fact, if you can, lock your laptop bag and keep your phone in your pocket or hand.
Always make sure that your devices have strong passcodes, as this will prevent thieves from getting their hands on your data. It is also important to have tracking apps (Find My Device) up and running at all times. They will help you find your device if it is still on and erase it if necessary.
2. Back up important data to the cloud
There are benefits to having a physical backup of your data. In some ways, it is safer to have an external hard drive than cloud backup, as someone has to actually be in your location to get a hold of it. But the reality is that cloud backups are extremely secure today. Whereas anyone can simply plug an external hard drive into their laptop, the ability to hack the cloud is incredibly rare and the chances that you will fall victim to it are negligible.
You don’t need a huge cloud plan to back up your data, as the important data is not that which takes up a lot of space. Personal information and personalization data won’t take more than a few gigs.
This does come with a caveat. If you are careless with your cloud data, it will never be secure. It is tempting to give your cloud account a password that you can easily remember, but if you are serious about protecting your data, you will use a strong password. Furthermore, two-step verification makes it almost impossible for someone to get into your data even if they crack your password.
3. Use a VPN at all times
VPN providers like to advertise their service by extolling the ability to access content from other countries. However, this is the least significant use they have. In fact, most countries have access to the same streaming content, and only those living in places with strong censorship regulations need a VPN to access content.
By far the most important aspect of a VPN is the protection it provides. When you’re online – as you are at almost all times – your data is at risk of being hacked and stolen. It is frighteningly easy for hackers to get hold of it. Governments also routinely surveil their citizens. A VPN is the first and strongest line of defence against your data being compromised.
So, while it is not the most exciting way to sell a VPN, it is the main reason you should get one. You should therefore use it at all times – not only when you want to access Netflix in another country.
Data is more valuable than just about anything else in the world in 2022. You should treat it as such, and take all possible measures to protect it.