When a company operates primarily via the Internet, there seems to be an inherent trust that their audience naturally has. There’s little-to-no doubt that all promises will be kept and that all data shared with them will be fully secured, but is this confidence appropriately placed? While we can’t speak to the promises these companies make, we can weigh in on some common data security practices.
How a Company Acquires Your Data
For a company to get your data, all they really have to do is ask you for it. Think about what happens each time you make a purchase online, or even create an account—you’re handing over your contact information, and usually pairing it to one of your financial resources.
Obviously, you’re subconsciously entrusting them with this information, assuming that they will keep it sufficiently protected and secure.
Here’s the thing: not all companies are totally deserving of this trust. Quite a few companies will make some extra money by bundling their contact lists and selling them off to other companies. This is considered a common enough practice but is fortunately looked upon more and more negatively as data protection is being prioritized more.
Even if this practice goes away, you still have no control over the company’s data security practices. Consider what information of yours could be exposed if that company was to be breached:
- Your name
- Your birthday
- Your credit card information
- Your contact information
These are all forms of personally identifiable information (PII), and this isn’t even a comprehensive list of the data that these companies will collect. Plus, if they were to suffer a data breach, the onus is still on you.
One of the biggest flaws of the Internet today is the questionable privacy of any activity. Anything you do on the Internet adds to a massive data trail that describes you, from the content you’ve streamed, the messages you’ve sent, everything.
As you might imagine, there’s a lot of value to be had from this kind of data.
How to Protect Yourself by Protecting Your Data
Due to this data’s value, you must do everything you can to protect it. Here are a few good ways to start:
- Use good passwords: Password hygiene and resiliency is the part of your online security that you have the most control over, so make sure that you aren’t taking any shortcuts that will undercut their effectiveness in protecting your accounts. Passphrases are often considered a more secure, but easier-to-remember, alternative to the password.
- Review the Terms of Service: For each account you’ve created, you need to check the fine print to see how they are using the data you provide.
- Track your finances: One of the most effective ways to find out if your security has been undermined is to keep an eye on your financial activities. Find a resource you can trust to give you these insights.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi whenever possible: Public Wi-Fi signals are a favorite hunting ground for many cyberattacks. Your data plan is a much safer alternative to these.
NuTech Services has the experience and know-how to keep your business safe from many cyberattacks. To learn more about how we can help, reach out to us at 810.230.9455.