Adopting Safer Habits: Mobile Overview

Our Connected World

What words come to mind when you think about data security?

We live in a world where information is passed invisibly through web pages, emails and connected databases.  We rely on these tools and services that pass information efficiently to navigate our world.   And, the truth of the matter is, very few of us understand how it all works.  

It is blind trust and the assumption that someone is taking care of us that keeps us from being a nervous wreck that we have just compromised private information or personal financial security as we send emails, conduct bank transactions, or update records.

Unfortunately, in the world of information security one cannot be so trusting, an ounce of caution can save lots of embarrassment and troubles later.  

What To Do

There are two truths when talking data security and safety.

  1. It is easy to find best practices, they are documented in tech blogs and by cyber-security firms across the web.
  2. It is easy to come off as paranoid and encouraging fear of the “boogeyman” when attempting to relate that advice and raise awareness.  

That being said it is difficult to provide practical options that don’t make one panic because VPN connections, SSL transmissions, and file encryption seem more like Mission Impossible than Allegheny’s Mission.

The truth of the matter is that there are reasonable habits you can adopt to decrease the likelihood of being the victim of of a cyber attack without earning a degree in data security.

  • Protect your devices – 
    • use a passcode or password to limit access. We use a key to get into our offices, houses, and cars, why should our phones, tablets, and laptops be any different? 
    • apply updates to take advantage of recently released security updates
    • use anti-virus to minimize chances of being a victim of virus attack, particularly important for laptops but  viruses written for mobile devices is a growing area of concern.
  • Protect your files – encrypt your device to make it hard to read files should the device be lost. Many mobile devices can easily be encrypted by selecting that option and restarting the device. Others auto encrypt when you turn on the passcode feature.  
  • Public WiFi – Free and public attracts the honest and the nefarious.  When away from your home or work network, it is better to connect using your 3g/4g data plan as transmission over that network is more secure based on how the data is divided up and sent over the air. Learn more..

Getting Started

Information Technology Services (ITS) has created a list organized by what is thought to be the easiest to adopt, check it out for yourself and pick the ones that appeal to you.  Habits are formed overtime with it being easier to adopt additional habits once simpler once a second nature.  So pick something from the list you think is pretty easy to accomplish and just do it. By doing something, new you will be safer than you were yesterday.

The ITS staff is happy to discuss how you use your mobile device to assist you in adopting safe habits.  Please contact Information Technology Services to start this conversation.