Data Protection

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April 15, 2013 by Ozgur Ozden

I do remember the old days where i used to install Windows 3.1 operating system by using  around 13 to 14 floppy disks of each 1.44MB in size. İf one disk fails the whole installation fails. Then we have introduced to CD drives and i think this was the beginning of big data era. Installations became easier, we have started to carry more information. Then DVD drives introduced to the scene, bigger HDD’s and SSD’s, Flash drives, external drives at a level of terabyte. Data become bigger and bigger.

According to McKinsey Quarterly Report (2011) 90% of the data we have today is created in last two years. The reason for this is the advancements in technology. We have started to collect big volumes of Data with faster data transfers. Variety of the data collected is increased immensely. some people call this huge amount of data collected as “Big Data”

İn addition to total amount of data we have produced, our personal data has grown enormously. From my own personal experience i have started to collect data in 5 to 10 floppy disks  of 1.44MB (I have even used 5.25-inch floppy disks, but missed the punched cards!) Now i have several external HDDs’ with terabyte level, Google Drive, and files on the school’s server. So protecting and storing this data becomes another task to be fulfilled properly.

I would like to storing and protecting the data into two separate group as Offline and Online, because each one requires different measures and precautions. Let us take a look at these parts.

Things can be done to protect your offline data:  What we mean by offline data is personal data related to you or your family that you do not share it with a third party and stays outside a network. Typical examples for offline data might be personal written documents, checks and bank statements, financial documents, letters, Heath records, ID registered records, school and degree records etc… Here i would like to list possible solutions to keep your offline data safe

  • Keep all your and family  valued documents at a secure place. Possibly in a safe at home or a bank. Federal Trade Commission. (2012)

  • Make xerox copies of your documents and keep it at another location, may be at work.

  • Save digital copies of your documents in your computer and your HDD. But keep in mind that a hacker may always access to those documents.

  • Do not share all your information on offline forms unless it is absolutely necessary.

  • Do not share your sensitive information on the phone, search for the companies if it is necessary.

These small details might be a solution for offline data protection and does not cost much.

Things can be done to protect your online data: Online data is the data that we need to share on a network such as internet to complete certain tasks such as shopping, banking, registration, social interactions, job application, booking, etc…

This part is much more delicate compared to the first part, because here we are sharing our sensitive information regarding either to us or family with third parties. Just like in the first part we can take some measures to protect our online data such as:

  • Keep your OS updated all the times.

  • Use a suitable firewall and a virus detection software. There are plenty of free  and efficient ones out there. Porter (2012)

  • Backup your data regularly to an external drive.

  • Make a copy of your important documents on cloud servers.

  • Do not share your sensitive information if you are suspicious about the site.

  • Always look for SSL connection, lock on the address bar to pass information safely to the other party such as credit card and other sensitive information.

  • Use complex passwords with special characters and do not share with anyone. Change it every two months

  • Use two or three level authentication such as cell phone or password generators to complete your bank transactions.

  • Be careful about the Phishing attempts. View the page source and info.

  • Share your sensitive information as little as possible and when it is absolutely necessary.

  • Be careful about using open Wifi and never share sensitive information via open Wifi.

  • Be very careful about the information you have posted on the social networks. I have heard that some thieves are following Facebook about travel messages and pictures of some members to make sure that apartment is empty and ready to be robbed.

Number of the Precautions we have mentioned above can be certainly increased. Items we have described above does not correlated with welfare, so with a little bit of patience and knowledge we can protect our own data. In fact, if you are wealthy and like to stay as wealthy you need to pay close attention to the above bulleted items. So data protection is not only for the rich.

References:

  1. Bughin, Jacques; Livingston, John; Marwaha, Sam. McKinsey Quarterly. 2011, Issue 4, p103-109. 7p

  2. Porter, Julie. (2012) Keeping Your Information Private; Tips and Tricks for Data Privacy [Online] Available at: http://blog.isc2.org/isc2_blog/2012/01/test-1.html  [Accessed on 16 March 2013]

  3. Andrew A. Adams, Rachel McCrindle [2012] Pandora’s Box:Social and Professional Issues of the Information Age. England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

  4. Federal Trade Commission. (2012) How to Keep your Personal Information Safe [Online] http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure [Accessed on 14 March 2013]
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