Data security is a topic that gets a lot of media attention, but a few threats are rarely discussed. While you should be putting most of your resources toward data encryption and password security, it’s important not to overlook the smaller chinks in your IT armor. Here are several security threats you could easily overlook.
Outdated devices can find their way into junk boxes that get donated to charity or tossed in the trash — but those devices might also store passwords, old emails, and secure documents. It’s tempting to leave your old device intact when you upgrade until you feel comfortable with your new device — but then it’s easy to forget to wipe it clean.
For security’s sake, you should back up your data to a secure server and wipe your old device as soon as possible after you’ve upgraded. You can always restore your old device from the backup if something goes wrong with the new one. If you are responsible for corporate IT security, make sure you are collecting and wiping those older devices whenever you offer upgrades to staff.
Devices like keyboards, printers, and photocopiers that can connect wirelessly to your computer increase your vulnerability — particularly if they use Bluetooth to make the connection. If you don’t need the convenience of a wireless connection, you are more secure with devices that don’t need them. Otherwise, research the hacking history of your particular wireless device, and develop a system for making sure you are regularly installing security patches from the manufacturer’s website.
You probably vet the cloud-based apps that handle your most sensitive data, but your responsibility doesn’t end there. It’s up to you to learn the best practices for using common work-related apps like Sales force and Slack. The settings you choose and the ways you interact with your data can easily put your data at risk at your end.
Older Network Hardware
How old is the router on your home network? Tech people are more likely than the typical user to own their modem and router rather than rent them from a provider, which is a great way to save money and take control of your connection. But if your device is working well, it becomes invisible to you, which means its security features can become outdated. If you haven’t updated your equipment in a while, check in with the manufacturer to see if there are any known vulnerabilities or patches.
Your Own Humanity
The adage “I’m only human” exists because people, by definition, make mistakes. No matter how well-educated you are, you will make some too. Human error is the cause of most security breaches, according to experts. Develop a written list of security practices, automate as many of them as possible, and review them periodically.
Plugging holes in your security protocols is an ongoing process. Technology changes rapidly, and hackers are working non-stop to discover new vulnerabilities to exploit. Keeping your data safe requires that you pay attention to all the threats, large and small, that could put you at risk.