How to avoid data breaches in the New Year

The holiday season is here and with the end of the year comes the traditional New Year’s resolutions. Why not add a resolution to keep your records safe and avoid data breaches in 2017?  Here are three records management tips to help you get a head start for the New Year and avoid potential data breaches.

Strengthen and Change Passwords

Paper shredded

This year many large companies have been victims of data breaches in both public and private sectors.  The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked and emails containing information on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign were released to the public through WikiLeaks, bringing unwanted attention to the inner workings of these organizations. It was announced LinkedIn fell victim when over 117 million email and password combinations were stolen in an earlier breach in 2012.

Consider changing and strengthening your passwords.  Limit the chances of your accounts being hacked by using a minimum of eight characters, consisting of upper and lower case, combined with numbers and special characters.  We understand it’s difficult to remember even one password with that combination. Consider that many people have dozens of online accounts making it hard to manage those types of passwords.  Using a secure, reputable password manager that provides a password generation feature will allow you to change your passwords frequently without having to remember all of them. Then there will only be one password you’ll need to remember, the one to your password manager. 

Purge unnecessary documents

Throughout the year we tend to collect receipts from dining out, travel expenses, monthly credit card statements, email printouts, pay stubs and other information that may contain confidential information. Gather all of the documents you have and determine what needs to be stored for tax purposes and what can be shredded. Simply tearing up a document is not enough to stop identity thieves. Make sure you shred any documents that may contain personally identifiable information.  Lastly, go through your computer files and purge unnecessary copies of work files, images, videos and other data that does not need to be backed up.

Secure Storage

After you’ve removed all of your unnecessary paper and digital records, take the time to organize your important documents. You can organize your files into categories such as vital documents, legal documents, and financial documents. The healthcare and financial industries have to follow regulations on how long records must be kept. Those can be organized into categories such as short and long-term. Documents that require short-term can be stored on your computer protected by a password.  Long-term records that require years of storage can be expensive and use a lot of office space. Consider using a third-party such as Crown Records Management. Crown has over 25 years in the records management industry in the US and specializes in document management, information management, and secure document destruction services. Contact Crown Records Management for a free quote and how they can be of service in the New Year.