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5 Crucial Data Protection Tips For 2022 and Beyond

5 Crucial Data Protection Tips For 2022 and Beyond

Jan 18, 2022

The new year is well on its way, and regardless of new years resolutions, learning about and adopting data privacy habits is helpful any time of year. We’ve compiled the top data protection tips that will be most relevant in 2022, so let’s begin!

 

With the first month of 2022 nearly behind us, it’s already becoming extremely evident that this year will be one epic battle to protect our data. Security threats will only accelerate as the year progresses, with cybercriminals refining their ransomware methods and exploiting weaknesses in the software that many of us already utilize.

Perhaps you are an individual user who wants more piece of mind while browsing the web, or maybe you want to be more mindful while working on you company laptop? Regardless of your motivation, we applaud you for recognizing the need to improve your online habits to keep your data more secure.

Almost everyone these days uses the internet in some capacity, so these practices touch us all while providing great benefits. Even adding the smallest habit to your routine can greatly help you navigate the web more securely.

 

Curious to know some easy ways to protect your data in 2022 (and far beyond)? Let’s get started with our 5 simple data protection tips:

 

Data Protection Tip #1: Investigate and adjust default security and permission settings

Our first data protection tip requires taking a look at your security and permission settings. If you haven’t ever investigated the settings of your browser before, it’s worthwhile to take a couple minutes to adjust them. This goes for personal laptops, smartphones and wherever you use the internet! This is our first data protection tip because it’s easy to complete and doesn’t require any advanced tech knowledge.

Cyber criminals are aware of how and where they can enter a system. If you haven’t taken advantage of customizing your security settings, you are missing out and giving hackers a less protected avenue to exploit or gather information about you. Think about it this way – the less unnecessary information you reveal, the better.

 

How to Put this Data Protection Tip to Use – Which Settings Should I Adjust and Where?

You may opt to turn location services off – there’s no need to reveal this 100% of the time you are online. Of course, if you enjoy that websites can recommend attractions or restaurants ‘near you’ then keep the setting on – it comes down to personal choice and what you use the web for. But if you are simply browsing or working and do not need to reveal your location, you can choose not to. This data protection tip is totally customizable to your needs, but it’s good to be aware of how you can change it.

You may opt to turn off ‘automatic connectivity’ to open networks. This is especially dangerous because password-free ‘open’ networks are easy avenues for hackers to gain access to your computer. Take caution and make connecting to open networks a habit of the past no matter how tempting. Even if you have rigid anti-virus in place, this is a very risky action in terms of cyber security. Take this data protection tip to heart and disable this setting. It only takes 2 minutes.

We use apps constantly, and often blindly accept all prompts to have access to our camera, location, photos etc. If there is an option to ‘allow only while using app’ then this reduces the amount of information the applications can gather on you. Are you not using a certain app anymore? Declutter and uninstall it completely! For apps you use regularly, go into their settings and see what personal information you have granted them access to, just to be sure.

Let your household, coworkers and friends know about these settings too – it’s up to the user to go in and adjust these security settings.

 

Data Protection Tip #2: Do Not Neglect your E-mail Settings or Prompts to Change Passwords

We know you gave out a big sigh just now – no one likes changing passwords regularly and we get it. But did you know that e-mail breaches account for almost 90% of malware infections? With a statistic like that, it’s worthwhile to apply this data protection tip and get on that strong password game. Improving your email security starts with changing your password more frequently. Everyone uses e-mail for personal and work-related business. Do not ignore this data protection tip. Change your log in credentials whenever prompted, and practice good password hygiene.

 

How to Put this Data Protection Tip to Use – Which Settings Should I Adjust and Where?

If you haven’t changed your password in a while, do it now! Follow these password hygiene tips to devise your strongest, most unbreakable password yet.

If you’re lazy about changing passwords regularly (who isn’t?), set up automatic reminders to change your e-mail log in, and do not ignore the scheduled prompts! These reminders exist for a reason – to strengthen your cybersecurity and data protection online.

Data Protection Tip #3: Stay Cautious of Public Internet Networks and use a VPN

In data protection tip #1, the importance of staying away from open networks was stressed. Building off this, we recommend you make sure you have a VPN downloaded for safe browsing online if you need to connect to a public internet network. If you must do this, at least make sure the network is password-protected and not open. This adds a small layer of added protection, though we stress the word ‘small’.

This data protection tip is extremely relevant for today’s work-from-home and working-remotely climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With people working and connecting to networks all over the place, having a VPN is more critical than ever. Even if the network you connect to doesn’t have the best security, your device will have an added precaution against hackers. A VPN hides your IP address and in turn masks your digital presence there. 

This means that remote workers or anyone who connects to public locations regularly will not be at risk of cyber criminals accessing personal data through the network.

Data Protection Tip #4: Refrain from Sending Confidential Information Through E-mail

There’s only so much that good passwords, stable networks, and a VPN can do to protect you online. There are countless human actions we must make every day to keep ourselves safe online. You can have the best precautions in place, and your information can still be leaked. Are you asking yourself, “How do I win at this game?” Our next data protection tip is easy to start applying right this second and all you have to do is stop sending private information over email.

 

How Do I Protect the Information in My Email – Which Settings Should I Adjust and Where?

You may have the habit of ‘sending yourself a copy’ of some important document to have it secured and easily accessible. This isn’t the best habit and here’s why. Not all files and information sent over e-mail are encrypted, so hackers may be able to intercept it. Some email providers encrypt your information, some do not. It’s worthwhile to look at the settings of your email.

Moving forward, use a secure file sharing option exclusively for important information. There are dozens of file sharing options that ensure your files are shared securely and privately. Good news is, you probably already use one or more of these services, some examples being Dropbox or OneDrive. These services shroud your files, so they are in a protected mode that prevents unauthorized access.

Secure file sharing is the process of sharing files securely or privately. Secure file sharing allows files to be shared between different users or organizations within a protected mode that is secure from intruders and unauthorized users.

 

Data Protection Tip #5: Oversharing on Social Media May Be Giving Hackers Important Information

Sharing a picture here and there may seem innocent, I mean we all do it these days, right? Maybe it’s something we’ve become accustomed to, but we reveal a lot through our social media – our close contacts, where we live, what we enjoy doing.

Social media is a favourite, and reliable (remember, we are constantly posting and seemingly giving out information about ourselves for free!) avenue for cyberattacks and especially social engineering. A hacker begins investigating their target by gathering information about them so that they can spin a convincing attempt – such as a malicious email – to gain access to information. Where is an effortless place to find information? Social Media!

 

How Do I Protect Myself While Using Social Media – Which Settings Should I Adjust and Where?

Stop viewing posts on social media as harmless to your cybersecurity. Go into your apps and see where you can improve your privacy. Have you ever done a scan of your followers? Unfollow, block, or report those who look suspicious. Consider making your account private so that your posts are only visible to those you trust. Are there apps you simply don’t use anymore? Log out, delete your account, and uninstall them. Never reveal or post any personal information such as your social insurance number, financial details, or even your address on social media platforms. Good cybersecurity habits take time to create and put into practice. In 2022, be a little more discreet with what you post online and how you connect, while being more rigid with settings and continuously exploring them. Share these data protection tips with your household, coworkers, and friends! That way, you’ll help more people stay educated on the latest news and soon you’ll be a natural at staying safe online.

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