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Essential Tips For Protecting Your Business Data

Essential Tips For Protecting Your Business Data

Large corporations have invested time and resources in hiring the best professionals available in the IT area to provide their knowledge in data protection. But what is the big deal with securing our digital information that it has become an entire business on its own?

    An old saying goes, time is money. These days, we should rephrase it along the lines of information is money. No one could ever doubt how valuable data acquisition is today and how important it is to create your data bank of reliable sources, from ultra-competitive brands like Apple or Samsung, to whom suffering an information leak would translate in the loss of thousands or millions of dollars out on patent royalties, to small businesses that can’t risk their investments.

    1. Identify the sources of threat

    By saying business data, we don’t only refer to written information that came out of the investigation, but also to financial data, human resources data and so on.

    Potential threats to your business are labeled as:

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    1. Unintended disclosure: Also commonly known as “leaks.” This is prone to happen when non-disclosure terms are not adequately established, and people start sharing semi-confidential content through social media (most commonly Facebook, but can be by fax, mail, letters or phone calls).

    2. Hacking and Malware: From DoS attacks to wiping out your data, hackers can do an unprecedented amount of damage depending on their intent. Cyber-kidnapping is one of the latest trends on this behalf, where hackers encrypt your hard drive and demand a certain (high) amount of money to decrypt it – otherwise, you will end up losing your data.

    Corporations geared towards software testing and development, banks, manufacturers and health-related companies are the primary targets of hackers.

    3. Lost/Stolen Mobile Devices: Tablets, phones, flash drives, CDs, laptops and such, which contain sensitive information about your company.

    4. Intended disclosure: Also can be labeled as “spies.” People who, after securing a deal with your competitors, leak vital data from your business to them.

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    2. Set hierarchy for accessing data

    Not every employee, especially newcomers to your organization, should have access to sensitive data. That’s the first step towards a secure organization regarding its IT policies.

      Full-access or master login to your servers should be highly restricted, even for your IT managers, as you never know when your data can get leaked and who’s to blame in those circumstances.

      3. Data encryption: A must-have

      Another choice to make is to acquire data encryption software for your servers, computers and laptops alike. This decision has two aspects to consider:

      1. Does your company have a potential risk of hacker’s attacks?: The answer to this question depends on the amount of staff you have, the way your business ranks in both local and international market, and the area where you happen to work. A creative artist won’t suffer the same level of harassment as banks or law firms, for example.

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      2. Do you require portability? For some brands, traveling is as important as the air they breathe, so having your laptops encrypted is a must. Why? Because, depending on your software, you can make it nearly impossible to decrypt data without the user’s password. This is crucial to enact as a countermeasure against stealing sensitive information.

      4. Stronger passwords for the most reliable protection

      Passwords are under constant attacks from hackers, who would try every possible way to crack it.That’s the reason for setting stronger passwords at your workplace.

        Make it a requirement for your staff to set passwords with more than eight characters, including the following items:

        • Up and lowercase letters
        • Special characters like _ # ! or / (better if done twice through the password)
        • Numbers

        Don’t use the same password for all sensitive data if you are at the top of the hierarchy. Passwords should be changed quarterly to ensure extra protection.

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        5. Keep your software up-to-date

        Regardless of the operating system you use, keeping your software in line with the latest updates is an easy yet effective way of protecting your business data, since malware evolves constantly, and these updates ensure that potential security vulnerabilities get patched up.

        6. Secure access to your network

        As a countermeasure to prevent outsiders from accessing your network, you should set your WiFi SSID hidden and encrypted, so no one can use your Internet connection unless you allow them to do it. Large companies use their VPNs to provide secure access, even when working remotely.

        Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pexels.com

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        Last Updated on March 25, 2020

        How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

        How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

        Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

        However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

        Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

        Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

        Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

        In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

        What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

        To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

        The Biology

        Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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        Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

        The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

        A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

        Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

        So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

        Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

        Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

        Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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        Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

        The Psychology

        Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

        Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

        Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

        Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

        What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

        Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

        Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

        1. Identify Your Habits

        As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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        2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

        Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

        It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

        3. Apply Logic

        You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

        Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

        4. Choose an Alternative

        As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

        Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

        5. Remove Triggers

        Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

        Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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        6. Visualize Change

        Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

        For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

        7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

        Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

        Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

        Final Thoughts

        Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

        Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

        More About Changing Habits

        Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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