Privacy in the Digital Age: Navigating the Challenges of Data Protection

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Data Privacy

With the average cost of a data breach being close to $5 million, it’s important to ensure it stays protected. Contact details, addresses, names, credit card numbers, passwords, and even medical data can cause loads of harm if it falls into the wrong hands.

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Physical harm, discrimination, identity theft, or hacking attacks await if this info goes public, and businesses need to adapt.

After the pandemic, remote work entered our lives, and instead of centralized hubs, data is now dispersed in all corners of the globe.

From a company database to a personal computer, data protection is a challenge, and here are some of the ways you can protect it.

Data Privacy
Photo by Azamat E on Unsplash

What is data protection?

Data protection is essentially keeping information safe and accessible. Data can be lost, compromised, or corrupted, and businesses need systems for backup, recovery, and availability.

Let’s say you’re running a hospital with thousands of patient records. This is strictly confidential data because there are names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and medical records.

If you have all that information stored on paper, it’s hard to maneuver and access. Plus, it can be destroyed in a fire or a flood.

Computer storage is next. It’s easier to manage and fast to access, but it can be hacked and also destroyed in fires and floods. Because of these problems, data protection involves backups.

Normally, after every working day, all of the new data would be added to a tape drive or library. If something goes wrong, this information comes in to save the day.

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Take backups and copy information to disks. They remain offline and are safe from attacks. But they’re slow for today’s fast-paced environment.

Backups today are usually done using cloud technology. Every piece of information stored in one device gets replicated and stored across the globe in massive server rooms with loads of other computers.

That makes it safe, distant, and reliable. But, again, the danger of a hack still lurks. Giants like LinkedIn, Alibaba, and Facebook have failed the test, and data was stolen.

Every data protection option has pros and cons, and it’s up to every business to decide what they will use.

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How to protect our data online?

Ransomware is the biggest problem surrounding data protection. Cyber attackers are becoming incredibly efficient at breaking into systems over extended periods of time.

Instead of doing a hit-and-run, they infiltrate an organization and slowly integrate the ransomware with the backups of the data. Thus, they make it impossible for organizations to restore everything without paying an exorbitant fee.

Also, killware is an uprising trend where hackers gain access to power grids, water storage facilities, and hospitals. With the threats becoming ghastly, knowing how to protect our data is more crucial than ever.

Human error

Human mistakes are still the number one cause of data loss and hacking attacks. The bigger the corporation, the more thought and effort it takes to breach. But cybercriminals have all the time in the world, and they’re making one small step at a time.

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A great example is the Ronin hack which resulted in $600 million lost. Even though the blockchain is the most secure technology at the moment, hackers managed to take control of 5 validator nodes and initiate transactions, only to be discovered a week later—the culprit – human error.

Through a LinkedIn phishing attack, the hacker planted a virus into a PDF file, and the rest is history.

Training

Knowing how a personal mistake can lead to an entire corporation losing access to confidential data is hard. But on the World Wide Web, everything is connected with a string. Interactive training courses are much better than bland presentations and reading textbooks.

Hands-on situations where employees can see where the mistake gets made are crucial to ensure it doesn’t happen in reality.

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After the training is complete, try to schedule a few simulated phishing attacks to see if they work. Repetition is the mother of all learning, and you can easily measure the progress of your training.

The results will improve by adding a practical element to connect to NordVPN with the Chrome extension (you can find how to do it here), and your company data will be safe and protected.

Mobile data

Phones are in their own category, and protecting this type of data is even more complicated. If you’re using mobile, the best approach is to use selective file synchronization. Even though that doesn’t work as a backup, it’s using the cloud to share files.

However, if the smartphone gets lost, stolen, or destroyed, this could become a problem. Placing passwords and biometrics is a necessity.

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Lastly, when it comes to protecting data, businesses always need to keep track of three things. In terms of security, is the person using the data really who they say they are? Then comes access control by proving it through passwords. Finally, the data itself needs to be backed up, archived, and easy to access.

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