Sharing information – the dos and don’ts
Sharing information online is a habitual part of daily life. Whether it is between individuals or organizations, the ability to quickly transfer information is now a necessity. As of January this year, Pew Research reported that a monumental 58% of American adults own a smartphone and 42% own a tablet. The widespread adoption of mobile devices has only intensified the expectation to be able to send and receive important data at the touch of a button. But what about sharing sensitive data?
Everyone should be able to benefit from these easy methods of sharing information with the confidence that their personal data is being handled responsibly and securely. It is the responsibility of both individuals and organizations to take proactive steps towards reducing the risk of sensitive information going missing or being unlawfully obtained.
To help protect privacy, we recommend considering the following dos and don’ts when handling personal data or that of others:
- Choose the most suitable method for sharing information. Remember, email is inherently insecure. Use a service, such as cloud fax, that fully encrypts data during transit and at rest.
- Ask recipients how they will protect your sensitive information before sending. The security of your information, or the information of others, should never be an afterthought.
- Set security policies and processes within your organization, and invest in training so your workforce is fully informed on best practices.
- Encrypt all removable media, such as USBs and portable drives.
- Assume that a password will protect your information. Given enough time, advanced hackers can crack most passwords and access stored or sent data.
- Rely on emails for sending sensitive information. Emails are practical for quick internal messages, but where personal information or classified data is concerned, stick to services that can guarantee security.
- Store personal, sensitive, confidential or classified information on unencrypted devices. Accidental loss or theft can be disastrous for the businesses and individuals involved.
- Disclose passwords, usernames, PINs or encryption keys to any unauthorized users.
- Assume that third‐parties know how your information should be protected.
Take every precaution when sharing personal information or sensitive data. By ensuring the necessary physical and technical safeguards are in place, you can prevent information from falling into the wrong hands. The loss of sensitive information can result in costly penalties, and can damage the reputations of all involved.