Do we need to be afraid of the future? Is our data safe?

There’s a lot of scaremongering going on in the press about technology and security.
Company data leaks, compromised accounts, ransomware affecting our public services, the list goes on.

Naturally, people always ask me about data security and whether they can trust their data with third parties. My answer is mostly ‘yes’.

Businesses have a duty to ensure that any private information relating to their customers are handled properly and secured. In fact, they are bound by law to do so.

For online retailers or anyone accepting payments online, all major banks enforce a mandatory requirement that they must be PCI DSS Compliant. This means that information must be handled in a secured server environment complying to stringent standards.

Data centres invest heavily in security as their top priority. From a physical security point of view, the environment is secured and accessed only by authorised personnel, 24×7 CCTV and manned security are in place, and multiple entry checkpoints are used. From a digital perspective, monitoring and safeguards are put in place to prevent data falling into the wrong hands.

However, that doesn’t mean we should drop our guard and pin all responsibility to the companies holding our private information. Security is a two-way street, and it is just as much of your responsibility as it is theirs.

It is important that people start to take digital security seriously. The prompts to frequently change your password or to use highly secure passwords may seem like an annoyance, but there is a reason for all of this.

As we become more invested in digital technologies, we need to start thinking about safeguarding our own digital assets. You wouldn’t leave you door unlocked at home or make the keys easy to find, so why take the same attitude with your online accounts?

Use two-factor authentication where you can, stay up to date with software, be mindful who you give your personal information to, be careful over what you download and what links you click on, use strong passwords, and certainly don’t use the same one across different accounts, and have a backup of your data where possible.

Unfortunately, these types of security breaches are becoming more common these days. The risks have always been and will always be there, but we shouldn’t live in fear about it either. Embrace the cloud, embrace connected technologies, embrace the digital economy – it’s the only way we can move forward.

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