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Data Breaches Can Happen Anywhere

Be Wary of the Most Common Yet Unexpected Ones

Whether it is human error, technical glitches or planned attacks, any breach in your personal or confidential data can result in critical and compounding losses to individuals, as well as businesses. Even larger organizations and institutions that invest heavily in IT security measures are not spared by cyber criminals. Let’s face it, we live in times where practically every smart gadget, appliance, device, or application that connects to the internet, stores some of your personal or business information. However, the security features on all applications may not be equally robust, which means, hackers could find the weak spots and intercept your private and confidential information for personal gains. 

In recent years, data breaches have taken on an unprecedented scale and form, making it difficult to predict how or where the fraudsters may strike next. In fact, certain areas or activities that appear completely harmless may actually be posing a threat to your privacy and confidentiality. Read on to know more about such unexpected avenues, where data breaches could occur. 

Top Five Unexpected Sources that Pose a Risk to Your Personal Information

Common Daily Use Devices: Given our hyper-connected environment, a massive amount of personal information sitting on your various devices is vulnerable to theft and breaches.

  • Your computers, smart TVs and phones have access to your location, viewing preferences and much more. 
  • Your personal fitness trackers or medical devices store information about your activities, food and workout habits.
  • The data captured in other smart electronic devices, such as HVAC systems or electronic appliances can potentially establish a pattern of your presence and absence at the device’s location, as would augmented reality games or mobile applications.

An unintentional release or unauthorized access of your sensitive information can happen almost anywhere. Ensure thorough research before you purchase any gadgets and check whether they have the latest, high-end security features.

Insider Job: Whether it is a trusted employee erroneously opening a phishing email, or a disgruntled employee deliberately stealing or leaking business data, one minor mistake can cause a massive data breach. Encourage ongoing information security awareness, sensitization and training to help your staff recognize or red flag potential threats, before they become full-blown issues.

Your IT Security Policy and Practices: You may find it hard to believe, but your own information security policies or practices may have certain flaws or gaps that make data breach possibilities easier. For example, do you have a strict policy for encryption of user devices, such as phones and laptops? Do you allow sensitive customer and business information to sit on individual machines, or on a central, secure server? Imagine the amount of data loss that could occur if a single employee’s laptop or mobile phone is lost or stolen. Create robust policies and processes to minimize the potential of thefts, hacks and breaches.

Trusted Outsourced Partners: As a business or individual, you rely on various outsourced partners or third-party vendors for a variety of services. With years of association with such a partner, you may be willing to trust them with your confidential and sensitive information. However, pause and review if you take certain precautions to safeguard your data:

  1. Do you conduct a routine audit, monitor and rate the service quality or restrict vendor access to your network or servers?
  2. If you are signing up a new partner, do you conduct thorough due diligence, get referrals and sign a formal contract with penal clauses for unauthorized disclosure of confidential or personal information? 

The Garbage Bin: They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and this may be very true when it comes to the documents that you dump in the garbage. Are you practicing safe disposal of your personal or business information details on physical and digital records? It is not difficult for dumpster divers to steal and salvage improperly shredded paper documents. Similarly, it is possible to retrieve the data on your legacy or broken down digital formats, such as floppy disks, tapes, hard drives, etc. with special software and systems. Ensure a secure chain of custody and safe disposal of your confidential information by hiring the services of a professional paper shredding company.

Rely on NAID AAA Certified TITAN Mobile Shredding for all your paper and digital media shredding requirements. Call us at (866) 848-2699 and speak to our data destruction professionals. You can also contact us online to request your free quote.

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