Many of us spend a large proportion of our time online and we are now more vulnerable than ever before, with a sharp increase in scams and online data breaches. As more of our personal details are stored online, it becomes even more important to gain an understanding of how you can keep your data secure and out of the hands of scammers.
While this is especially true of our personal data, there is also a sizable volume of sensitive business data exchanged online daily. Accessing this sensitive information is a hugely attractive proposition to online scammers, fraudsters, and cybercriminals eager to use this data to blackmail and extract funds from unsuspecting individuals and organisations.
In this article, we will also explore data security careers and how you can enter the world of data security as a professional.
Before we look at why data security is a strong career option, it’s important to acknowledge the significance of data security to businesses. As a field, data security is one of the most pressing priorities that the world of business currently faces, because of the increasing importance of digital and the sheer volume of data that is exchanged online.
Data security can have significant real-world implications for companies, as any breaches can lead to the personal details of customers (and perhaps even sensitive commercial data) being compromised.
Public knowledge of data breaches can be hugely damaging to your brand’s reputation and can severely dent the confidence of customers in your organisation. Sometimes, the brand may never fully recover from bad press generated by your company’s systems being hacked. It is even possible that your company could be held liable for data breaches, if, for example, there was a failure to uphold GDPR.
After a breach has occurred, personal details are frequently leaked or sold on the dark web, where criminals and scammers can easily access your customer base.
Want to know more about high-profile data breaches that have affected organisations? Read our guide to the 10 biggest data breaches.
You might be confident in the security of your data, both personally and from a business perspective. However, remember that your data is only as safe as the systems you can put in place to protect it.
The world of Cyber Security is constantly developing, with hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated in their search for data they can exploit.
Below are some basic tips for keeping your data as secure as possible.
Get rid of old equipment safely - Hackers can easily take advantage of any old equipment that might contain sensitive information such as bank details, passwords, or other personal information. You can get rid of old equipment securely by using software to wipe your equipment or use a specialist company to do so.
Only keep the data you need - If you have a lot of old data sitting on your IT system, hackers can access, use, or sell this information to other scammers. For this reason, it is important that you only keep information (either about yourself or others) that is truly necessary to store.
Ensure that you use secure Wi-Fi - Using unsecured public Wi-Fi connections might make you vulnerable to fraudsters, as these connections are far easier to infiltrate than secured connections.
Never leave devices unlocked - When you leave devices unlocked, you make it easier for your data to become compromised. The easiest thing to do is to ensure that you and your colleagues never leave your devices unlocked and ensure to save sensitive data in an appropriately secure location.
Perform a data audit – To get on top of data security in your organisation, perform a regular audit to gain an understanding of who has access to what data. This is a key method of controlling access to important information, which you should repeat regularly to make sure that sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands.
Make sure your antivirus protection is up to date - Finally, your computer and IT systems must remain up to date with the most relevant firewalls and antivirus software to make your data as secure as possible.
Because data security is such a booming field, it’s only natural that skilled data security professionals will continue to be highly sought-after within UK companies.
Data security is a highly technical area. Roles in data security frequently command high salaries, and there are many opportunities in this field. A large proportion of professionals find working in data security to be an exciting and highly rewarding career.
Visit our handy guide for more information on how to become a Cyber Security Expert.
In conclusion, data security is a rapidly developing area that should be taken seriously. We have seen the impact that data breaches can have - both for individuals and businesses. While there are many things you can do yourself to make your data more secure, companies should certainly look to recruit skilled Cyber Security Professionals to minimise the threat of hackers.
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