28 January 2014

Today is Data Privacy Day, a yearly event led by the National Cyber Security Alliance and intended to get us all thinking about how much information we put online and what steps we take to protect it. You could argue that this year it has come at a particularly relevant time, with all the furore around NSA spying and data hoarding escalating in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations. It’s not just a case of us individually protecting our private data, but the organisations behind it all taking the appropriate measures too. This includes both the government and the hosting providers entrusted with protecting the public’s privacy.dpd_english

Since the revelations about the NSA and the Patriot Act have come to light, we have had an influx of British customers who have come to us because they want their data stored on British soil where those laws don’t apply. Being able to physically see the data centres where their data is looked after is a huge benefit as well, especially when there’s razor wire prison fencing and gates around the perimeter. In my opinion, there’s no excuse to not take even the physical security this seriously.

As for online security, it’s so important to make sure that we don’t leave any chinks in our armour for hackers to get through. In this business, we’ve seen businessmen in tears because their infrastructure has been compromised. There are huge fines for companies who don’t manage to protect their customers’ data. These kinds of things can bring businesses to their knees. Simple things like investing in a firewall can make a lot of difference. On our network everyone is behind a firewall because we see it as the bare minimum of protection.

We all need to start taking the right steps to protect our information online. We see news of cybercrime everyday, yet people are still using passwords as weak as ‘123456’ and leaving themselves wide open for hackers to steal their information! Whilst there’s plenty of advice about protecting your data online, it’s up to us to start taking it seriously and putting it into practice.

Personally, I welcome today’s focus on protecting ourselves online. We live in an increasingly connected world where anyone can easily put anything online. It’s become something of a commodity, but the consequences of not investing in the appropriate safeguards can be huge. It’s an old adage but it still holds true today: “Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.”

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