In today’s track-everything digital world, it’s been said that data is worth more than oil or gold. Whether that’s entirely true is up for debate, but the fact is, people now share their personal information online like never before.
The price of not keeping personal information secure can be incredibly costly and stressful. At the personal level, it might mean we are more vulnerable to being scammed or having our details stolen by cybercriminals. At the enterprise level, it could put your entire company in jeopardy.
What Is Personal Information?
Basically, it covers any single piece of data that could identify you as an individual. Names are the most obvious, but it extends to things like date of birth, home address, telephone number and email. There are other forms of data that could also indirectly identify an individual. This sort of data includes things like IP address, location data, medical information and bank or financial data. These count as personal information too.
You might think this isn’t something that applies in your current role, but it does. Do you ever email or call a customer? If the answer is yes, then you are handling someone’s personal information. Learning the basics of security awareness will be helpful in your personal life, but also in your job!
How Much Personal Information Do We Share?
It’s difficult to overstate the sheer volume of data we share over the internet nowadays. Likewise, it’s a challenge to quantify it exactly. Perhaps the best way to think about it is to think about how much online storage some of the largest global corporations need. Much of that storage will be used to store and analyze their customers’ personal information.
Most recent estimates say that between Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, at least 1,200PB (Petabytes) of data storage is used.To understand the scale of those storage needs, 1,200PB equals 1.2M TB (Terabytes). Your average laptop computer today comes with a 512GB hard drive – basically half of a terabyte. Frankly, it’s a staggering amount.
What Can I Do As An Individual?
There are a few steps individuals can take to keep their personal information as safe as possible. Most people are familiar with the concept of using strong unique passwords on accounts. Many people use two-factor identification, as well. It’s also prudent to be cautious about emails from unknown sources and to avoid giving out banking and credit card details except on trusted sites. Yet despite these steps to keep personal information secure, data breaches can and do happen to companies of all sizes. This results in large amounts of private customer data being made public. Large fines have been imposed on many well-known businesses for data breaches over the years, in addition to the negative impact on brand reputation and the amount of trust you have with your customers.
What Should My Company Do?
To increase security awareness in the workforce, the most common solution is training. Introductory training, intermediate training, and then some refresher training every year. Organizational security is only as strong as the weakest links in the workforce, so having employees with good security awareness is imperative. It’s business-critical that employees can recognise what might be an attempt to gain access to private information or a company’s internal network. It’s also important that employees know what steps to take if they believe there has been a data breach or potential cyber attack.
As a professional in the workplace, working at pace and under pressure, making a simple security mistake can lead to an awful lot of problems. Since the number one gap in any IT security system is the people that use it, there are a lot of benefits to basic security awareness training.
Start Learning critical Security Awareness skills today!
Security affects everyone. This course will help you identify some key ways in which you can play a part in keeping your business and personal information secure.