At our company, we care deeply about data security. As a start-up, we’re thinking about security issues every day. Is our customer data safe? Our computers? Do we have the tightest grip on data protection and product licensing? How can we keep our email safer from prying eyes?
All small businesses will share our concerns. But with so many falling victims to data thieves, there must be something we’ve been doing wrong. For those of us that don’t have an IT team, encrypted data solutions on all fronts are certainly one cost-effective way to safeguard our data. The following are the four fronts that we do our best to protect.
When communicating with people at work through mobile apps, we try to use messaging apps that offer end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger or Signal apps protect messages with encryption, though in the Messenger app you will have to enable the feature.
It is not enough to encrypt communication software. Since it is possible to encrypt our devices, doing so always gives us an extra level of assurance that a hacker will have to get through multiple layers of protection to reach our sensitive data. Most mobile devices and desktops allow you to initiate a full-disk encryption. A tool like BitLocker can encrypt the hard disk and removable drives on a Windows laptop in just a few clicks. The latest Android and iOS phones come with encryption enabled (for iOS you will need to set a passcode). No one can break into encrypted devices unless they spend a lot of money, even governments.
A hacked email account can mean a hard-hitting loss of business secrets, personal information, financial information and other sensitive data. Strong passwords for your email and allowing two-step authentication are essential. But add a third line of defense with email encryption, and you will sleep better at night.
Like most start-ups, you may not have a company branded email yet. If you’re using @gmail.com, @yahoo.com or any of the other reputed email service providers, you should know that you’re still not safe. Yahoo, for example, saw the leak of half a billion customers‘ details. Using an email encryption tool like Mailvelope (it’s free) will let you add another layer of security to prevent successful hackers from being able to read your emails. Mailvelope works with major email clients like Gmail.
Encrypted data on the Cloud
It is wise to operate under the belief that even the most trusted cloud storage service can be potentially hacked. Whether you use Google Drive, Dropbox or some other cloud storage server, encrypting your data with a zip tool and a password before you store it is an option.
It is wise to keep in mind that encryption is not a complete data security solution. Even if you use a VPN for your Internet traffic, you cannot be confident that hackers will never be able to break in. You will also need to keep all your software and devices upgraded with the latest patches.
What are the encrypted data protection steps that you have taken for your business or personal use?