Data Protection: Should and Should Not’s

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In the past decade, due to thousands of data breaches, cybersecurity and data sensitivity has been a focal point of global news. Research shows that nearly 8 billion records were compromised in 2017 alone.

It can be argued, that those who are responsible for protecting this data or “steering the ship” have been asleep at the helm resulting in Titanic like data breaches.

When companies have unqualified individuals running access controls, technology, and cybersecurity departments, they are risking all of the information that they have stored. While these individuals may remain qualified in their area of expertise, they haven’t been adequately trained to spot malware, hackers, and inconsistencies in the regions that house delicate information. Additionally, technology structures are very temperamental. It only takes one brick to fall before the entire structure falls down.

How Consumers and Organizations Protect Their Data

There are certain tips that people might follow to help protect their data, that are effective but not nearly as effective as people think they are. Things such as:

  • Checking Your Credit Report – Yes, you should always check your credit report. But, people who believe that checking their credit report can stop ID theft are mistaken. You can get a free credit report each year at certain websites, but you really need to check more often than once every 12 months.
  • Setting Up Fraud Alerts – People also set up fraud alerts and think they are fully protected from ID theft. Again, fraud alerts are great, but they expire after 90 days, and most people forget to renew the service. Additionally, these are only a guideline for your creditors, and they are not required to contact you if they issue credit.
  • Freezing Your Credit – These people also freeze their credit. This is a good thing to do, and I think it is fundamental to protecting your identity, but again, it doesn’t help to protect your ID from tax-related identity theft, criminal identity theft, account takeover or medical identity theft.

Hacker’s are everywhere, regardless of if you can see them. You are the most important part of your cybersecurity defense and it’s essential that you understand how you can prevent hackers from accessing your sensitive data. Here are some simple, yet effective tips to help you further:

  • Use your computer’s antivirus software to run a daily quick scan and a weekly full system scan. You can do this manually, or use the software’s scheduling feature.
  • Consistently ensure that you are running the most up-to-date version of your antivirus software.
  • Be cautious of attachments and links that you find in emails, and don’t open anything from unknown senders. Hackers are skilled at making counterfeit accounts look real, so it’s best to double-check with the sender directly if you are unsure.
  • Also ensure you don’t click on links that are from your bank, the IRS, retailers, etc. Hackers typically use these methods to obtain login credentials that can lead them to sensitive and financial information.
  • Log in to your bank’s website directly instead of using the links in your e-statements.

Information and security management is highly essential, and to ensure that your plans, strategies, and information gets protected, your security protocols need to be updated as often as possible. Using firms that specialize in not just cybersecurity, but identity and access management could help you to create a plan where only confirmed and approved individuals have access to your information.

Other recommended forms of security measures would be to have pertinent information stored on shared drives specific to your servers, and firewalls that prevent users from accessing high-risk sites.

Correctly understanding how your cybersecurity strategies are going to work requires the knowledge of someone who specializes in technology and cybersecurity management. Including these professionals in your technology plans is of the utmost importance, because they are trained to spot irregularities in servers and the transferring of critical and sensitive information. These are the individuals that build your technology infrastructure and firewalls to protect not just your hardware such as computers and cell phones, but they protect the information that other people have entrusted you with.

EC-Council’s Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU) training program provides individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their information assets. Learn more about the course here.

About the Author:

Robert Siciliano, CSP, the #1 Best Selling author and CEO of, is serious about teaching you and your audience fraud prevention and personal security. Robert is a security expert and private investigator fiercely committed to informing, educating and empowering people so they can protect themselves and their loved ones from violence and crime in their everyday lives, both in their physical and virtual interactions.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of EC-Council.


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