Whether you are an individual or a business, it is essential to protect confidential data.
Sensitive data can be just about anything, as per your priorities. Starting from your personal information to a document with a confidential agreement.
But, how do you keep confidential data secure?
Are there any special security measures that you need to follow to protect sensitive data?
We shall now look at some tips to secure any sensitive or confidential data.
Things to Keep in Mind to Protect Your Sensitive Data 👈
To keep the confidential data secure, you first need to evaluate your data sharing and storage activities.
You need to start making an index of what devices you use, what you connect to (public Wi-Fi or home network), and if you are using any obsolete tech with data on it.
Next, think about what data you work with when going online or share offline via storage drives.
Once you have made yourself aware of all the data you are dealing with and how you interact, it will be easier to prioritize measures to protect them.
Ways to Secure Confidential Data 🔒
Fret not; one does not need to be a security expert in following the tips. However, we recommend you thoroughly review your options before taking any action.
Manage & Organize Confidential Data
To be able to secure the data, you need to handle it efficiently.
Organize folders/files on your smartphone or computer in a way that lets you easily find them when needed.
While it is important to hide it away, it is also important to not mix it with other junk files. You might end up accidentally sharing/deleting it.
If you have something tied with a confidential agreement from your office, do not transfer it to your personal device for easy access. Usually, the office network has a firewall in place and security measures set up for your system.
So, it is best to keep it there.
Encrypt Your Files
If you want to keep anything confidential, you need to encrypt them before moving the data anywhere else.
No matter whether you are uploading things to the cloud or transferring them to a backup storage drive. You should always make sure that the data is encrypted and cannot be accessed by anyone else.
Of course, opting for some of the best free cloud storage services should make a difference.
While you already have several security measures (and encryption) when you upload things to the cloud, it is better to encrypt them locally before uploading them to the cloud.
A tool like Cryptomator or Veracrypt can help you securely encrypt the files/folders. You can follow our guide to encrypt files to protect personal and business data.
You need to note down/memorize the master password (or decryption password) to access them in the future. If you lose it, there is no way to recover the files.
Enable Encryption on Your Devices
When you encrypt your files/folders, you get to move the data safely anywhere.
However, having encryption enabled for your device should prevent unauthorized access to anything on your device. This should come in handy if your device gets stolen or lost.
The method for activating encryption will depend on the platform you use. All you have to do is find the option and enable it.
- For Windows: Settings > Update & Security > Device encryption
- For macOS: System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> FileVault
For Android and iOS, if you are using a password/passcode, the device is automatically encrypted.
Use a Password Manager & Enable 2FA
Whether you encrypt your files or keep them away in cloud storage, using strong password matters. A password that cannot be guessed.
You can make up your own complex password, but it may not be possible to remember them for every encrypted folder/file or online account that you access.
So, to ensure strong security, using a password manager helps. It is usually available cross-platform, and you will have to remember just one master password instead of several complex passwords.
In addition to secure passwords, you should enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) wherever available.
Backup Your Data
It is always recommended to have a backup of your sensitive data if you lose access to the files on your computer or accidentally delete them.
A physical storage drive should be a good solution. However, if you have confidential documents that do not take much storage, storing them on multiple USB drives can be a solution.
Furthermore, you can opt for an unencrypted backup of your data for emergency access if you lose access to the encryption key.
Not having an unencrypted backup may result in a permanent loss of your sensitive files. So, you need to evaluate your priorities and the risks involved before making an unencrypted backup.
Alternatively, if you are ready to spend, you may opt for cloud secure backup like Acronis.
Ensure Physical Security of Devices
No matter what you do, make sure that unauthorized individuals do not have access to your device.
With direct access to your device, you may be vulnerable to some form of tracking or malware, resulting in data theft or loss.
Use End-to-End Encryption
It is always risky to share/transfer files over the Internet. To ensure that your receiver gets access to the files and no one else, use end-to-end encrypted platforms as much as possible.
You can share an encrypted copy of your file through an unencrypted medium like email. However, to share a password for that file, you should opt for apps like Signal messenger or rely on features like Bitwarden Send.
Some of the best secure file-sharing services should help you get the job done.
Use a VPN When On Public Wi-Fi
If you are working remotely and connected to a public Wi-Fi network, there are chances of an attacker snooping on your activity.
So, to encrypt your network connection and make sure no one else taps your network activity, it is best to use one of the best VPNs available.
Keep Your Operating System Up-to-Date
Running an outdated operating system can compromise your data, no matter what else you have in place.
Whether it is a phone or a computer, make sure that you regularly update it to the latest software available for the device.
And, if you own a device that does not receive any software updates, you should not store anything confidential in it.
Your Data is Precious. Take Good Care of it. 👩💻
While securing data is important, it can prove to be quite inconvenient for some users. So, it is best to focus on the data you want to avoid sharing with the public or a stranger.
It can be overwhelming to manage passwords, organize folders, memorize the master password, and follow the best security practices. But, it is all worth it!