It’s no secret that the digital world is an inherent part of daily life and is here to stay. From social media, emails, eCommerce, remote work and the anywhere economy, digital news outlets, the blockchain, and more, one way or another, you are part of the billions of people connected to the online world. This digital connectedness we face in the modern world is full of positives; however, a byproduct of this is the growing concern surrounding data privacy and cybersecurity, a subject still in legislative infancy.
Due to how ingrained the internet is in our lives, it’s crucial that you inform yourself about what data privacy is and why it’s essential. Keep reading on for your introduction to data privacy.
While a legal definition of data privacy is yet to be established, in general terms, it refers to the practice of collecting, storing, managing, and sharing capabilities with third parties, its ethics, and your ability to opt in or out as the user. It also concerns whether the parties collecting the data abide by applicable privacy laws like the GDPR or CCPA.
Your privacy as an individual is considered a basic human right, and data protection laws serve to protect that right. As we want to assume that going outside during the day is safe, we also want to assume that when we jump onto the internet, we don’t want to worry about whether our personal information is handled with care.
Unfortunately, digital crime is a lucrative business, and there are many ways your personal data can be misused if not kept private. If your personal digital footprint is breached, criminals can use your data to harass you, sell it without your consent (resulting in spam), and make you feel as though you have a digital stalker. This is why digital privacy is crucial for businesses and individuals alike.
While data privacy is growing in the discourse surrounding it, legal initiatives remain primitive. This is why it’s essential to remain informed as an individual and take some preemptive measures to keep yourself protected online.
Key Preventative Measures for Data Privacy
- Two-factor authentication (2FA)
2FA is a method of electronic authentication that requires you to provide two pieces of evidence that you are the intended user in order to get access to a website or application. Typically, this means you have to provide not only your password but perhaps a temporary code sent to the registered phone number or email address as well. While this method can be a pain at times, it’s an essential protective measure to prevent access to your accounts that you should enable when offered.
If you’re the type of person who considers social media to be their online diary, it’s time to give it a rest. Oversharing the details of your life online, no matter how seemingly innocuous they may seem, puts you at risk. And if your digital profiles are set to public, well, you’re basically putting yourself in the line of fire. Set your digital accounts to private, and be extra cautious when sharing your location, hometown, birthday, and other personal identifiers that could be used against you.
When setting your passwords for your various digital accounts, ensure you carefully consider what you set them to. Never create a password based on personal information, such as your birthday. Never underestimate the capabilities of cybercriminals, so don’t make it easy for them. Always use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and mix in numbers and symbols. Rather than basing your password on a single word, use a phrase. Additionally, you shouldn’t use the same password across multiple websites and should consider changing your passwords periodically.
While it’s tempting to access the free WiFi while at that coffee shop you love, it does come at a price. Public networks aren’t usually equipped with the same security measures your WiFi at home does. What this means is that logging into the public network makes it easy for people on that same network to access your data. If you plan on doing any shopping or completing some work that involves sensitive information, it’s best to save it for when you get home.
Whether you’re a business owner or an individual, data protection is of the utmost importance, but you’ll need to invest in different protective measures based on which category you fall into.
For businesses handling sensitive client information or various other digital assets, investing in the applicable software application can add an extra layer of protection for your company. If your business handles various branding media and other creative files, digital asset management software can help you ensure your files never fall into the wrong hands.
If your business employs APIs, then you’ll want to carefully review its security measures. API security refers to the actions put in place to protect your API from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other cyber threats. Any systems that handle your business data should have their security measures carefully reviewed so that you remain compliant and protected.
In addition to carefully reviewing your digital platforms, you should also integrate a password management system. A password manager prevents password sharing, generates unique and difficult-to-guess passwords, and ensures information is easily accessed by authorized users while remaining secure.
For us as individuals, to ensure your personal information and data remain protected and your devices are free from hacking, you should install antivirus software, antispyware software, and a firewall. This powerful trio gives you peace of mind against malware, offers real-time threat detection and prevention, provides regular updates and patching, and provides a safe browsing experience.
While the legal world may not have caught up with the necessary actions to protect your digital data and information, there are things we can do to protect ourselves as we interact with the world of digital. With the right preventative measures and the right security software, you can remain armed and protected against cybercriminals.
About the Author:
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.
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