Keeping Data Secure

Measures that can be taken to keep data secure include:

  • making regular backups of files (backup copies should be stored in fireproof safes or in another building)
  • protecting yourself against viruses by running anti-virus software
  • using a system of passwords so that access to data is restricted
  • safe storage of important files stored on removable disks, eg locked away in a fireproof and waterproof safe
  • allowing only authorised staff into certain computer areas, eg by controlling entry to these areas by means of ID cards or magnetic swipe cards
  • always logging off or turning terminals off and if possible locking them
  • avoiding accidental deletion of files by write-protecting disks
  • using data encryption techniques to code data so that it makes no apparent sense

Keeping Passwords Safe

Once you’ve come up with your complex, easy-to-remember passwords, keep them safe. Don’t write them all on a piece of paper that you keep in your wallet! Use a service like LastPass or Dashlane to manage your many different logins and passwords.

Creating complex passwords

At this point, everyone knows not to use “1234″ or “password” as a password. We also know that the strongest passwords are at least eight characters long, include upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and don’t include any obvious information (your name) or even full words.

The trick to a memorable but complex password is acronyms: Pick a phrase, such as “I’ve eaten Green Eggs and Ham since December 1969,” and squash it together, maintaining the first letters and all punctuation: “I’eGEaHsD1969″.

You can also substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings: “My son’s birthday is March 9″ becomes “Mi$sun’sbdayiz0309″. And be sure to change your passwords every 90 days, choosing a completely new acronym every time. Remember: Length is more important than complexity. Longer passwords, even if they’re simpler, are harder to crack.

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