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The Importance of Data Security

Data security is as important now as it has ever been. People don’t realize how imperative it is, and lazy IT personnel don’t care enough to do it right from the beginning. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a Doctor’s office only to see them walk away with their computer unlocked or a network attached storage hard drive array/ enclosure sitting out in the open behind the secretary’s desk. You can’t even begin to imagine how sick it makes me to see these things happen. And the doctor’s response when I point it out? “It’s encrypted”. Ah, okay, so the data at rest is encrypted? The traffic between computer to server is encrypted? And this encryption means that if I fell on the floor and sneakily plugged a flash drive in with malware to compromise your system or a keylogger that I wouldn’t have any useful data? Does this mean if the secretary ran to the restroom leaving the front area unattended that I could grab the NAS and run but I wouldn’t be able to access the data? I feel that at least 1 or 2 questions I just asked have an answer that rhymes with “no”. ¬†This is the same with Equifax’s recent data breach. IT systems are just run and left running because they work. They aren’t reviewed properly and in many cases, finding the right tool to monitor important things is not always easy. Or the tool is there but it is not turned on. Or the tool could be used but produces so much overhead that it doesn’t get turned on at all. Breach after breach, we (as humans) just don’t take the time we should to secure our data.

As the IT for several companies, I do what I can to ensure we aren’t over-exposing our customers and we lock down anything we are able to in order to prevent breaches as much as possible. Hopefully the breach with Equifax will blow over as quickly as possible. Until then, do what you can to protect yourself!

One thing I didn’t see mentioned too well on the sites I was reading about this and “how to protect yourself” is that most banks offer a form of identity theft protection. I’d recommend you take advantage of it. For example, Members Preferred Credit Union offers it for just $1.95 a month (credit union in Idaho Falls).

CNBC Provides a decent infographic of what you can do to protect yourself:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/08/how-to-protect-yourself-after-the-equifax-data-breach.html

To place a fraud alert, these are a couple of the sites you might use:

https://www.experian.com/ncaconline/fraudalert

https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert

I’d tell you the one for Equifax, but I’m not feeling confident about entering data on any of their forms for some reason. Aside from the obvious large elephant in the room, I’m not sure why anyone would feel that way?

To find your current credit report on any of the 3 agencies, use the following (you should check this periodically anyways to stay in control of your finances) annualcreditreport.com.

Use links above at your own risk.