Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mind Your Data

As I sit and ponder what else to write about, it dawns on me that we are living in a world of technology.  If we look around our life, we would be hard-pressed to find an area that isn't affected by technology.  Technology has become so interwoven into the fabric of our lives that we hardly notice it any longer.

Consider your house - you probably make sure your doors and windows are locked.  You might have installed an alarm system to alert if a burglary or fire is happening.  You may own a firearm with the purpose of protecting your family in the event of emergency.  You install fire detectors in each room, and you may own a dog for both companionship and for it's deterrent value.

We also take similar precautions, if we're smart, outside of the home.  We generally lock our vehicle to prevent or deter theft.  We may have learned to keep our keys in our hands while we walk to the car, especially at night.  We are familiar with the fire exits at work, and we likely go through multiple security protocols throughout our day, from toll roads to access badges to locks on our desks.

The problem, I believe, is in the proliferation of technology in our lives.  We always have our cell phone on our belt, in our pocket or in a purse.  We might carry a laptop or tablet - we certainly have a PC at home and likely utilize one at work.  Our TV can now access the Internet, and even our fitness machines and refrigerators soon will be connected to the "Net".  This connectivity is very convenient but I think we have become unaware of the risks.

Any of these devices, connected to a network or the Internet, could present your personal information in ways you are not aware of.  Your credit card information, social security number, and a host of other interesting and useful bits of information could be seeping out the cracks in your technological collection.  There are many ways of helping to reduce the risk, however most people aren't even aware of the risks, not to mention the ways of reducing that risk.

It is imperative that we, as technology consumers and users, become aware of just how much of our personal information we're sharing, how much we're letting leak out.  It's fine if you know about it and are fine with sharing it.  The real concern happens when you don't know.  The number of Information Security professionals, sites, and books available is vast - make sure you are taking advantage of these resources, learning just what the risks are, and taking the necessary steps to help minimize the risks to your personal information, finances, health records, and anything else you wouldn't want to share with the world.

You lock your door each night - make sure you have a lock on your data also.

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