First celebrated seven years ago, March 31st is World Backup Day. Having gained momentum over the years, the day serves as a reminder to back up all of your digital data, avoiding any April Fools jokes in the process, and spurs people to practice data protection and safety on all fronts.
The day is recognized internationally with the hopes that those who have never backed up their data will start, and those who already do will continue their practices. In honor of this occasion, we wanted to educate our readers on the importance of World Backup Day and some of the simple steps they can take to ensure they are protected.
What is a data breach?
Contrary to some beliefs, data breaches can happen to anyone at any time. In fact, sometimes all it takes is an outdated virus protection software or a successful phishing attempt to pull it off. With 59 records lost or stolen every second by hackers who obtain unauthorized access to private files, it is more important than ever to be mindful of your digital life, as it is more sensitive than you think.
Take a look at the Equifax data breach, for example. The breach on their systems compromised the sensitive information of more than 145 million Americans, which turned out to be even more than originally reported. Some of the exposed private details included names, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and addresses, which is more than enough information to commit fraud.
Although situations like this can seem unavoidable from an individual perspective, there’s still hope for defending your personal data and protecting it from getting in the wrong hands. This World Backup Day, consider taking time to back up your devices and important info and, while you’re at it, take these few extra steps to ensure your safety.
Back up your data
Aside from keeping digital information intact, backing up data and performing other maintenance tasks can help improve the lifespan of your device, and can even protect your identity. Digital devices and data require frequent maintenance and security practices. Many times, vulnerable devices can fall victim to data breaches; the information can then be exploited by criminals to access other accounts, make financial inquiries, or even commit identity theft.
Whether you choose to backup via external hard drive, USB, or secure vault in the cloud like LastPass, storing it in an alternative, safe location will prevent you from losing data entirely should anything happen to your device.
Back up in multiple places
You don’t just want one copy of your data; redundancy is key. You always want two or more copies of your data, stored in protected places that you can get access to but that are locked down so it’s hard for others to access. If one of your machines goes down, you still have access to your data saved in other places.
Use strong passwords
Don’t underestimate the importance of strong passwords. A breach will cost you a significant amount of money, time, and credibility, so why put yourself at risk? Stolen credentials cause 1/3 of external security breaches. In fact, according to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 81% of confirmed data breaches involve weak, reused, or stolen credentials which has significantly increased from 63% in 2016.
With the number of high-profile data dumps that made headlines in recent months, many people are starting to realize the burden of password management and how a lackadaisical approach to password security cannot continue. To combat it, you must not only educate yourself on best online security practices, but also take advantage of the right tools available to help. When you think “password manager,” you probably think “passwords”. With LastPass, though, it’s easy to store all sorts of items such as credit card details, insurance policies, addresses, bank accounts, and more.
Update your software
One of the easier tasks to do this World Backup Day is updating devices, programs, and software with the latest versions. This requires little to no work on your end and helps avoid the pitfalls associated with outdated software. Corrupt files, drivers, and software can cause devices to fail, often resulting in permanent data loss. Enabling automatic software updates is a great way to avoid forgetting and is far more efficient than continuously choosing the “remind me later” option.
As always, security is our top priority here at LastPass and we know it’s very important to you, too. That’s why a defensive strategy should always include backup, maintenance, and recovery plans in the event of a cybercrime or data breach-related emergency.