Friday, July 15, 2011

Keeping Data Safe While On the Go

          Balancing convenience and security is a difficult task. People like to keep their information with them and have convenient access to it at all times. But as information becomes more convenient to share and access, security risks start to increase. Here's the issue: What is the best way to conveniently access our data while keeping it secure? To solve this issue, we need to balance convenience and security. More importantly, each person needs to find a plan that fits their needs.

          To begin with, you might want to consider investing in a portable hard drive or in online storage. Portable hard drives offer a large amount of space for a very reasonable price. Because most portable hard drives come with backup and encryption software, they are a great way to keep your data safe while on the go. Another method you can use is the online storage option. The great thing about online storage is that it allows you to easily share all of your information while keeping it secure on the host's servers. Most online storage companies also charge customers based on the amount of storage that they use. In other words, you won't have to pay for any unused storage.

          Try to avoid traveling with your laptop as much as possible. This reduces the chance that it will be forgotten, stolen or dropped. On business trips that require you to travel with your laptop, make sure to keep your eyes on it at all times. Even when your laptop bag is going through security in the airport, remain alert. People are quickly scanning through your bags and you need to make sure that you pick up the right bag. Keep your laptop with you at all times. Instead of checking your laptop in luggage carry it with you in your carry on bag. If you are traveling in a car, keep the laptop out of sight when not in use.

          To provide additional security, use secure passwords to stop others from gaining access to your information. My definition of a secure password is a password that: contains at least twelve characters, uses lower case as well as upper case letters, symbols, numbers and is unique. NEVER write down your passwords and keep them in your laptop bag. If you're like me and have trouble keeping track of your passwords, consider installing a password protection program. I recommend using keepass, a free password protection program that creates an encrypted password database for all your passwords. To gain access to the keepass database you are are required to create a master password that you use to login.

          If you have to use your laptop in a public area and will be working with sensitive information, use a laptop screen guard to protect your privacy. When staying in a hotel, avoid leaving your laptop inside of your room. Hotel rooms are a common place to lose items; they also give the hotel's staff access to your belongings. If you absolutely have to leave your laptop in your hotel room, put your do not disturb sign on the door to keep the room as secure as possible.

          In the event that your laptop is misplaced or stolen, change the passwords to your network accounts immediately. In addition, inform your IT department about the situation so that they can take the appropriate measures to protect as much data as possible.  

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