Sharing Data Securely

IT is all pervading in our modern world.  We put a cash value on our phones, laptop and tablet computers.  However, if these were lost or stolen we would tend to be more concerned about the cost of replacing them, rather than the potentially valuable data stored on the device.

In our ‘information rich’ society, a great deal of information about us is transmitted across the internet each day.  Bank transactions, mortgage applications, car insurance details, tele-marketing and many more uses too.  Thankfully, many of these transactions are encrypted, which scrambles the data to an outsider, protecting the data.  Only the recipient can decode the data.  This protects the data from interception or ‘man in the middle’ attacks.  Think about a sensitive email from one person to another.  This passes through literally hundreds of IT, telecoms, and network devices on its journey.  Most email is actually unencrypted, so it would take just one of the devices to be compromised to allow a hacker to read the email and all the attachments too.

Top tips for information sharing include installing encryption software such as WinZip or 7-Zip.  Encrypt your attachments before sending them.  Text the password you used to encrypt the data to the recipient.  Don’t send it by email, otherwise if someone gets into your inbox, they will have the data and the key to unlock it.  When working with suppliers or customers, agree a ‘project password’ to use.  Use this for all communications between you and the other organisation.

An even better way of protecting your data and that of your clients is to use collaborative working tools and ‘portals’ such as Microsoft SharePoint.  Instead of emailing documents to customers, you upload it to your SharePoint portal, and then email a document link to the customer.  Only authorised users will be able to follow the link to read the actual document.