27 Apr, 2015 No Comments Bobby Data Security

Most of us don’t typically consider physical security a part of computer security. But it’s just as important to securing your data as anything else. Here are a few tips to consider.

Shred important documents

Don’t throw sensitive information in the garbage. Out of sight does not mean out of existence. Invest in a simple cross-cut paper shredder (preferably one that does credit cards and CDs too). Anything sensitive should be destroyed before it leaves the house or office. This includes:

  • unwanted credit card applications
  • bills
  • voided checks
  • tax documents
  • expired credit cards
  • paystubs
  • data CDs
  • anything else with personal or family information

Ask yourself this: Would an identity thief or private investigator be able to use it for something? If so, then it’s important enough to shred.

Lock up important documents and data

Collect anything of importance and lock it up good and tight. This includes:

  • social security cards
  • birth certificates
  • wireless passwords
  • website passwords
  • data backups
  • the cash under your mattress
  • embarrassing love notes
  • anything else you wouldn’t want getting out

A locking desk drawer or lockbox is okay, but I suggest an actual fireproof safe if you can afford one. It doesn’t have to be big, just something a thief couldn’t easily make off with.

Don’t leave your mobile devices unattended

No one is foolish enough to leave their phones, laptops, or tablets unattended in a coffee shop, right? (Right????) But there are other places we leave things that we don’t think about as much. Including but not limited to:

  • your car at home
  • a friend’s house
  • an unlocked dorm
  • an unlocked office
  • with a co-worker
  • with your kids

The rule of thumb is this: if it’s anywhere out of your immediate control and/or sight, it’s in the wrong place. I make it a point to put embarrassing backgrounds on my friends’ devices or hijack their Facebook page if they leave them unattended with me. Call it a learning experience.

Consider locking the office door

At work this should be a no-brainer. But we don’t really think about doing this at home. It may not be necessary but it’s worth considering if you think your computer may be at risk of snooping or theft. Good reasons to lock your office door might be:

  • There’s a lot of foot traffic through your house
  • You have nosy neighbor kids
  • There are strangers around like repairmen or re-modelers
  • You’re going on vacation
  • Someone is house-sitting for you
  • The babysitter is over
  • Thefts happen frequently in your neighborhood

Consider video surveillance

Got something you need to keep an eye on? Maybe it’s:

  • your kids
  • the nanny
  • your office
  • your rental property
  • the business premises

If that’s the case, it might be worthwhile to invest in a video monitoring system. It can be as simple as a cheap webcam or as complex as a full-fledged multiple IP camera system. But be sure to check on it periodically. It does no good if it’s not monitored.

Check out the rest of my Good Habits series!

Password Security: Habits and Best Practices - This is not a guide for password creation, but for how to manage your passwords securely. Because if you don’t manage them well, it doesn’t matter how strong they are. Superman himself can create your passwords but that means nothing if they fall into the wrong hands. Don’t give out ...