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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 April 19, 2021

        The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

        The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

        Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

        The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

        Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

        In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

        When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

        Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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        1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

        When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

        As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

        That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

        The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

        What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

        Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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        There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

        So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

        2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

        When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

        No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

        3. Move Your Body

        A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

        It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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        So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

        4. Connect With Another Person

        Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

        One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

        Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

        5. Use Your Imagination

        When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

        That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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        And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

        Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

        Final Thoughts

        Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

        Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

        More on the Importance of Taking a Break

        Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

        Reference

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