5 Easy Ways to Improve Data Security

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Did you know that in 2019, India suffered one of its largest-ever data breaches in history when it was revealed that hackers stole the information of around 6.8 million patients and doctors from a health care website? However, even a couple of years since this event, cyber attacks have not gone away. On the contrary, they have risen to alarming levels with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reporting over 313,000 cybersecurity incidents in 2019 alone.

With more frequent data breaches expected in the near future, CERT-In has underscored the need for consumers to exercise constant vigilance and improve data security to keep increasingly sophisticated threats at bay. Here are five ways you can enhance data security at home.

1. Encrypt Your Data

The safest way to secure your private data is to utilise encryption to make it indecipherable for people other than those that are authorised to access it. Encryption takes your data and then converts it into an unreadable form, thus maintaining the privacy of your records.

You can begin by activating an encryption tool and enabling it across all your connected devices. This way, your data will be secure even in the event that the devices are stolen or lost. In addition, ensure that you only visit websites that have SSL encryption. SSL encrypted websites are visibly distinguished as their URL starts with "https://" and has a padlock icon that precedes the name of the domain in the address bar of your web browser.

2. Update Your Software

In today's environment of hyperconnected and multi-platform devices, manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure connected devices are as user-friendly as possible. One adverse result of this is that software changes sometimes take place in the background, making it easy to lose track of their status.

An overwhelming bulk of hardware-related cyber attacks take place due to unpatched software vulnerabilities that cybercriminals use to obtain backdoor access to your system. If you ignore software updates, you are practically opening doors to hackers to infiltrate your system.

For this purpose, you should keep all software on your device as updated as possible. Alternatively, you can allow automatic updates to ensure your devices are protected at all times. These updates include fixes for newly found security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors.

3. Backup Your Data Regularly

In light of persistent risks to your private information, it is likely that no protection will be 100% safe. If the recent spate of ransomware attacks in India is any indication, cybercriminals can pose just as much of a challenge by refusing you access to your private data, as they can by hacking and stealing it for themselves.

This is why it's important to back up all your critical data regularly so that you can easily recover from data breaches should they happen. You can do this by backing up your local data to cloud-based backup services. In addition, you can also run an antivirus software on your PC to keep it infection-free. This will decrease the probability of experiencing a ransomware attack and also alert you to issues before they can be replicated in your backup data.

4. Create Strong Passwords and Change Them Often

A report shows that 25% of Indian internet users have weak passwords for their online accounts. The same report also found that more than 32% of people let browsers on their device to save their passwords while 11% of them use the same passwords for all their accounts.

With cybercriminals getting smarter, it's best to not leave internet security to chance and create strong passwords while ensuring to change them frequently. This allows you to sidestep brute-force attacks, where malicious actors use a number of password variations in the hope of guessing a combination correctly. If you feel password management is a hassle, you can use a password manager to store your passwords and access them with one master password whenever you want.

5. Invest in Antivirus Software

An antivirus software solution is a crucial component of your broader system security plan and is the best way to enhance data protection. It discovers hidden viruses, points you to possible risks in your system, and then deletes them before they can corrupt your data. This ensures that almost all threats are stopped before they can deal any damage to your systems.

A powerful antivirus software solution like ESET NOD32 Antivirus also protects you against malicious websites and ads, which are the most popular gateways through which viruses infect your systems. This eliminates the risk of a data breach due to a ransomware attack by restricting its immediate access to your computer network.