A Strong Defense: Data Security in the Promo Industry

Not a month goes by without another headline about a company that was hacked. Ransomware. Data leaks. Passwords put up for auction on the dark web. It’s enough to make a person seriously consider moving to the wilds of northern Alaska and going completely off-grid. The world of data security can be scary, but the best defense against fear is knowledge, and that’s what we’re here to give you today. 

Let’s start by explaining what, exactly, data security is. If you’re imagining Doberman guard dogs and people patrolling barbed wire fences in fancy uniforms, you’ve probably seen too many movies. In fact, real data security is simply a set of processes, strategies, and best practices, all designed to protect your files, accounts, and information.

Effective data security identifies the most sensitive information and controls who can and cannot access it. Keeping your data safe is a big responsibility, and it’s one we both share, so today, we’re going to break down what it is we do to stay secure and give you some tips on how you can do your part to stay safe in the big, wide, digital world.

What You Can Do

When it comes to digital security, practice makes perfect. The more secure we are with our personal data, the more secure we’ll be in our professional lives and vice versa. That’s one of the reasons why you’ll see a lot of these tips repeated in both business articles and personal blogs. 

The other reason you’ll see these tips repeated over and over? They work.

Tip #1: Two Factor Authentication

You know those scenes in military action movies when the soldiers insert two keys into the nuclear launch console? That’s two-factor authentication, and activating it on your accounts might not be as dramatic, but it is just as important. 

Unfortunately, you cannot flip a single switch to turn on two-factor authentication. It has to be done on an account-by-account basis. You may have to do some Googling to find instructions, but for important logins like your bank accounts, email, and yes, even your social media, it’s very worth it.

After you activate it, you’ll get an alert on your phone confirming you’re the one attempting to log into your account. That way you’ll know if someone who isn’t you is trying to do the same and can either approve or deny that access. That leaves you in control of who can and cannot get into your accounts. 

Tip #2: Use a Password Manager

We mentioned this in Our Favorite Apps for 2022, but it bears repeating – using a unique password for every login you have protects all of your accounts. Whenever you hear about data leaks where passwords were compromised, you can assume that all of those passwords ended up for auction on some hacker’s website.

So if you use the same password for a bunch of different sites, and one of them gets leaked, all of your accounts are now compromised.

Keeping track of those passwords can be a pain, but that’s where password managers come in. LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane are all excellent choices, but the best option is making sure you’re using one of them.

Tip #3: Learn the Tricks Scammers Use

Phishing emails have learned how to take advantage of spellcheck, so it’s harder and harder to separate fake emails (and even texts) from the real ones. They can fake web addresses and email domains. They can even fake phone numbers.

The one thing they can’t fake, though, is the psychology of the scam. 

Digital con artists prey on our fears and our sense of urgency. They’ll send you emails claiming you need to click this link right now, or something terrible will happen. So before you click on any link, ask yourself, “What if…?” What if this message isn’t legit? What happens? 

And then ask yourself if there’s any way you can confirm the information from a secondary source. Call the number on the back of your bank card. Confirm with your coworker that they sent that email. Shoot off a text message to your aunt instead of clicking the link she sent via Facebook Messenger.

Trust, as they say, but verify.

Where We Go From Here

We won’t lie – the world of digital data security can seem scary, but when we’re all informed, we’re all ready to face that world together. If you have questions, feel free to reach out.