How To Prepare Sensitive Data In Case Of An Emergency

How To Prepare Sensitive Data In Case Of An EmergencyData has surpassed oil as the most valuable commodity on the planet. Previously, most people thought that their data was of little to no use to hackers, but that’s no longer the case. Most companies are collecting data on their staff and customers, and that data is highly sought after by cybercriminals. The following aims to help you better store and protect your data, whether you’re an individual or a business, to help reduce the risk of experiencing cybercrime. Emphasis will also be placed on preparing data in such a way that if you are a victim of cybercrime, you’re less likely to lose money or permanently lose the information you need to function.

Who Does This Apply To?

In sort, data protection applies to everyone. It is estimated that last year, over seven billion dollars was lost due to cybercrime. Businesses of all sizes and individuals are being targeted, particularly if appropriate security measures haven’t been taken. Hackers know how to identify signs that someone has not taken precautions to protect their data.

This particularly applies to anyone who needs their data for work or life purposes. For instance, if you collect data for research purposes and losing that data would result in losing weeks, months, or years of data collection, you probably want to be sure that you can always access the information you’re collecting.

Important Terms

Before diving in, it’s important to outline a few key terms that are common when data security is being discussed. The first is high availability. Often shortened to HA, high availability refers to systems that are continuously available to those who need them, even during problematic events. Think of medical records at a pharmacy, for instance; people need to be able to access and act on their prescriptions regardless of what’s going on, so the system used by the pharmacy needs to have high availability.

The second term you want to know about is disaster recovery. Often shortened in the industry as DR, disaster recovery refers to approaches that ensure you have little or no data loss should a disaster occur. Almost always, this requires that a copy of your data be stored in a separate location from the original data.

When looking at ways to prepare sensitive data, you want to keep these concepts in mind. The ideal data approach will include both HA and DR. Ideally, you want both of these elements supporting each other.

Back-Up Everything

First up, you want to ensure that you have a high-quality backup of your valuable data. For most people, the ideal backup system involves one physically-stored copy and one cloud-stored copy. This way, if there’s a digital attack, you still have your physical copy, and if there’s a physical disaster like a fire, flood, mudslide, hurricane, earthquake, or tragic coffee spill, you still have a digital copy in the ether.

Encryption Is Key

One fantastic step you can take to help dramatically reduce hackers’ interest in your data is encryption. Encrypted data is scrambled data that is basically useless someone has the phrase needed to decrypt it. Hackers don’t want to waste time stealing data they can’t use.

You don’t need to be a tech genius to encrypt data either. There are many programs that do this work for you, making it fast and easy. All devices where data is stored can be encrypted. And if a data emergency does take place, this can help reduce the risk that anyone can use the data they’ve hacked, accessed, or stolen.

How To Prepare Sensitive Data In Case Of An EmergencyTake Disposal Precautions

Should a disaster take place, devices are often thrown away. A lot of people don’t think about how they dispose of their tech, but this process can end up compromising important information. Think about throwing out credit cards; you usually cut them up small enough that no one can figure out what the card number and security card code are, right? (Please do this in the future if you haven’t in the past).

Make sure that you overwrite deleted files and that you remove unneeded files from your system. Delete older files from your backups as well. If you’re disposing of a hard drive, run a magnet over it, wipe the disk clean several times with software, use a disk shredding device or completely destroy the drive.

The above information should help you prepare for and handle data-impacting emergencies. Depending on your industry, you might have additional data concerns not described above. If you’re nervous about anything, reach out to a data protection service and ask what they recommend for someone in your situation.