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Data & Device Security

We cannot always prevent the theft of and damage to our electronic devices and personal data. Oftentimes, it’s simply a matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, we can minimize and mitigate the loses of these events by:

  • Encrypting
  • Updating
  • Backing Up
  • Using a Firewall
  • Using Anti-Malware Software

It is important to note that each one of the five steps enumerated above is required because the protection each of the items provide is not duplicated by any of the other items. Therefore, being delinquent with the installation and use of any of the items in the list constitutes a security vulnerability that can be exploited by others for nefarious purposes.

In other words, every device should be fully encrypted, updated and backed up regularly, and protected by both a firewall and anti-malware software.

If you value your privacy and would like to keep your devices and data safe and protected, contact IT-SD.

Encrypting Devices and Data

The first step in securing your electronic devices and data is to encrypt everything. Encrypt computers, encrypt external drives, encrypt smartphones, encrypt tablets, encrypt everything possible. Encryption helps ensure that if a device is stolen, hacked or given to someone for repair, that the contents of the device remain private and secure.

If you own an Apple computer, you can encrypt everything using the File Vault Tab in the Security System Preference Panel. Bit Locker Drive Encryption is built-in to the Professional and Ultimate versions of the Windows operating system. If you own an Apple iPhone or iPad, the entire device is encrypted. Simply set a password lock to activate the encryption. If you have an Google Android based smartphone or tablet, you can activate encryption by going to the Security Menu in Settings.

A good rule to follow is to always encrypt a new device or drive during its initial setup. Luckily, most devices like computers, tablets and smartphones have the ability to encrypt internal drives without first needing to reformat and reinstall. External drives, however, may need to be wiped and reformatted before they an be encrypted.

Installation of Operating System and Application Updates

The next step in ensure device and data security is to always install operating system and application updates whenever they become available. These updates can add new features, repair vulnerabilities, improve performance, and much more.

Backing Up Devices and Data

After encrypting, the next best practice towards maintaining digital security is to regularly backup your devices and data. Backing up guarantees that if a device is stolen, damaged, hacked or otherwise compromised, that the entire data contents are being safely held on another device.

The Microsoft Windows operating system can create full system image backups using Backup and Restore, and can create data backups using File History. Apple computers can utilize Time Machine from within System Preferences to backup their machines. Apple portable devices can backup to computers using iTunes and to iCloud. If you run a device with Google Android, you can sync certain settings to your Google account using Settings and you can backup your device using a third-party application.

Installation and Use of a Firewall Application

The fourth step that can be taken to help protect your devices and data is to install and use a firewall. A firewall is a network security application that monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic on a device based on predetermined security rules. It helps establish a barrier between a trusted internal network and untrusted external network, like the Internet.

Firewalls can be categorized as being either host-based or network. Host-based firewalls run on host devices and control network traffic in and out of those devices. Network firewalls filter traffic between two or more networks and run on network hardware.

Installation and Use of Anti-Malware Software

The last step that should be taken to help protect your device and data is to install and use anti-malware software. Malware has associated with it many risks and dangers including data and identify theft, data loss, operating system and application malfunction and misbehavior, loss of privacy, spying and monitoring, reduction in device performance, increase on device wear and even device damage.

Anti-malware software should consist of two parts: an active scanner and a passive scanner. The active scanner actively scans all incoming network data for malware and blocks any threats it comes across while the passive scanner detects and removes malware software that has already somehow made it onto the device.

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