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5 min read

Personal Device Protection



Katherina Yavela, Digital Marketing Manager


Sitting at your favorite coffee shop, you’re adding the finishing touches to the last chapter of your mystery novel. Suddenly, a wrong sleight of hand and your cappuccino spills all over your laptop. Dark screen, unresponsive keyboard, your heart begins to sink… Or does it? That depends on the extent of protection you have in place.

Your Data is Always a Target

Three years ago, I was that clumsy individual in the coffee shop. And yes, I was guilty of not protecting my Mac laptop. A mortifying experience, the worst part wasn’t even spending the money to purchase a new laptop – it was the permanent loss of all my data, files, and information, including my college course content (presentations, essays, homework assignments, etc.), photos, and more…

Let’s take a look at another example. You have enrolled in a virtual class for a management program called How2Grow. As part of the program, you have created a user account and opted into receiving internal communications via email, including your course content (i.e. assignments, grades, new concepts), marketing information (i.e. upcoming webinars, events), and feedback from your professor. You receive this program’s email titled, This morning, you received the following email:

Earn Extra Cash Weekly working as a Personal Assistant/Errands. It’s a Flexible part-time job where you will determine your working time. All the tasks are work from home weekly pay is $400. Click HERE For Further Details to Sign Up

You’re hesitant to click this link, as you’ve never seen such an email before, nor has your professor mentioned anything of this sort. You also happen to notice that the sender’s email address doesn’t match your program’s regular address, titled, Thankfully, you ignore this email and send it to your trash box. Congratulations – you’ve just avoided a phishing attack.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there were 1,291 data breaches in 2021 across the US!

Understand that from the moment you input personal data onto an organization’s website, you are susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. No matter the size, shape, and sector/industry, companies across the world are constantly targeted by cybercriminals to steal and expose their client and employee data.

3 Protective Practices

Scrolling through social media, online shopping, watching TV on streaming services, taking classes, running a personal business – we all have technology devices we utilize for our personal activities like these. Whether it’s a laptop, an iPad, a tablet, or any other personal device, it is that much more important to protect it from cybersecurity attacks (i.e. phishing), natural disasters (i.e. flood), and your own human mistakes (i.e. spilling a cup of coffee).

So, this brings us to the question of the day: How do I ensure my personal device is protected from all these dreadful scenarios and risks? Let’s examine three security measures we all must take for personal device protection.

1. Device Encryption: When you encrypt the data on your device, this mixes your data and securely locks it away, accessible via a secret code only you have. Because your data is “scrambled,” outsiders – anyone without authorized access – cannot get to it. Without encryption, your data is open to anyone who gets their hands on your device. Let’s put it this way: If 77% of IT organizations require data encryption on all devices, shouldn’t you be doing the same for yours? Encryption is available on all modern-day technology devices, including phones, laptops, and tablets. There is no reason why you shouldn’t have it enabled! Here are the device encryption features per brand and device:
  • Microsoft devices:
    • PCs, laptops, tablets: Windows Device Encryption; BitLocker Encryption.
  • Apple devices:
    • iPhones, iPods, iPads: Data Protection (located on your settings app).
    • Mac laptops: FileVault.
  • Android phones: Encryption (located in your settings app); IDrive.

2. Data Backup & Recovery: To avoid losing all your data, like the coffee spill example, always, always, always regularly back up your data. Data backup duplicates and stores your data in other secure locations. So, if you do happen to spill coffee and destroy your laptop, at least you are able to recover your data on your new device. For extensive security, many people and organizations follow the common 3-2-1 Rule: having 3 copies of your data, of which 2 are stored on a different device (other than your primary device), and 1 copy is stored offsite. Overall, for maximum security and general peace of mind, you should duplicate and back up your data on your primary device, store a copy on an external hard or flash drive (i.e. USB), and back up duplicated data onto a cloud backup storage service (i.e. iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive).

3. Emptying Trash Box: Although uncommon, it is still possible that any of your deleted data, files, and information – anything you drag into your trash box on your computer – can be recovered and used; especially if it falls into the wrong hands (i.e. cybercriminals). You never want this to happen to you. Taking the extra, simple step of regularly cleaning/emptying your trash box makes all the difference. Depending on your usage, set up a daily, weekly, or monthly reminder to empty your computer’s trash box. On many computers, there is a feature to select automatic trash box cleaning to avoid doing it manually.

Better Safe than Sorry

What if you already practice these steps? First off, hats off to you! However, when it comes to cybersecurity, there is always more that you can do. Here are additional best practices for personal device protection:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi: Use a VPN or another secure network.
  • Install firewalls.
  • Research common cybersecurity attacks and learn how to recognize and prevent them.
  • Utilize a password manager.
  • Install and regularly update security software: antimalware, antivirus, and anti-ransomware.

How We Help

VC3 makes technology easy. If you’d like to learn more about cybersecurity, or you simply need help in determining what optimal protection services are for you, VC3 is here to help!

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