Safeguarding your data is more important than ever. With the prevalence of malware viruses and cybercriminals, it's doubly vital to keep your personal and business data safe, especially as a high-net-worth individual, like a top executive or entrepreneur.
But because there are so many different ways in which aspiring thieves can steal your personal or corporate data, you need to adopt specialized, effective strategies. Let’s take a closer look.
Understand that You’re a Target
First and foremost, you must understand that you are a prime target for cybercriminals of all stripes. Cybercriminals can include a variety of different individuals and organizations, including:
- People who create and deploy malware viruses, which can affect your computer, scoop data, slow down operations, and more
- Phishing scammers, who impersonate officials with the goal of gaining company or personal information
- Ransomware operators, who create ransomware viruses. Ransomware viruses infect and lockdown personal or company computers until the victim agrees to pay the ransom or a certain amount of money, usually in Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency
If you have lots of money or power, or if you're a wealthy individual in some other way, you're a target for cybercriminals. They see you as an opportunity to strike it rich or get a lot of valuable data they can sell on the black market. All it takes is one successful cyber attack.
Don’t assume that, just because you don’t visit sketchy websites or you don’t spend a lot of time on social media, you want to target. The reverse is true. The higher profile your name is, the more of a target you actually are.
But knowing is the first step in defending yourself against all kinds of threats. Once you adopt this new mindset, you can take steps to shield your personal and corporate data from all types of attackers.
Rely on Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication or MFA is the practice of requiring multiple proofs of identity before giving access to sensitive files, databases, or other information. As a basic example, your bank account likely requires you to provide both a password and a fingerprint scan or security question answer, or all three.
The idea is that requiring multiple forms of ID lowers the likelihood of an identity thief or other cybercriminal getting access to critical information. If a cybercriminal has your password, but doesn’t know the answer to your security question, they still won’t be able to get into your bank account or your corporate databases.
Multi-factor authentication should become a standard practice at your business and for your personal accounts. For even better data breach security, consider requiring all of your employees at your company to use multi-factor authentication for their accounts and logins, as well.
Educate Employees/Contractors on Data Security
Information is power, which means that all the employees at your brand need to know how to both recognize and prevent data breaches. Unfortunately, many employees, even those in IT firms or similar organizations, don’t know the basics of cyber hygiene, like how to construct a good password and how not to leave ID badges lying around.
To remedy this, you should host digital hygiene seminars and cybersecurity practice classes for your employees and yourself, especially if you know that you aren’t the most technologically literate person in your niche.
As an example, do you know how to spot a phishing scam? Some common signs of phishing scams include:
- Improper grammar or spelling in an email message
- Receiving an email from someone you don’t recognize
- An email requesting that you click a suspicious link
- And so on
To really maximize data breach prevention, make sure you and your employees know all of these things and much more. That way, you won’t have to ever worry about extracting or deleting a malware virus from your computers. The virus won’t get onto those terminals in the first place.
Get in the Habit of Using a Password Manager
Password managers are some of the most effective and useful tools for modern cyber defense, but not enough people take advantage of them. Password managers are essentially encrypted programs that store hard-to-crack, strong passwords, allowing you to store and use those passwords without having to remember them personally.
The strongest passwords are those that include 15 or more characters, plus a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It can be a real doozy to remember passwords like that, especially if you need a unique password for every account or login terminal you access each day.
Password managers allow you to create and use strong passwords without putting an excessive burden on your memory. You should always use a password manager whenever you need to create and use a password for a secure account, like your retirement accounts, your bank accounts, and even your other financial accounts, like those dealing with trusts and investments.
The stronger your password, the less likely it is that a cybercriminal or potential hacker will be able to get access to your data and still your identity. Above all else, you should never use the same password for multiple accounts in a row! In that case, a lucky cybercriminal who steals one password could get access to all of your accounts simultaneously.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
One broad digital shielding strategy you can employ is avoiding putting all of your eggs in one proverbial basket. In essence, don’t store all of your passwords in the same password manager, or don’t put all of your vital personal data or bank account info in the same place.
In a lot of cases, hard storage is more secure than digital storage. As an example, you can download all the vital data for your investments or corporate accounts onto a hard drive, then detach the hard drive from your computer. Such an external hard drive can then be placed in a safe or some other physically secure location where a cybercriminal will never be able to access it, no matter how effective they are at digital intrusions.
To go the extra mile, you can put your personal data or banking information on an external hard drive, then ensure that the hard drive is placed in a very secure location, like an offshore trust. In any case, the core strategy involves scattering all of your passwords, information, corporate data, and other vital digital assets around.
That way, even if you lose some of your assets, a cybercriminal won’t have everything, and they’ll have a doubly hard time getting the rest now that you’re alerted to their presence and intentions.
Learn How to Safeguard Physical Assets
Protecting your data and preventing data breaches is important, but it's also crucial that you keep your physical assets safe. When you're a high-net-worth individual like a business owner or investor, you'll become a much bigger target than ever, especially for creditors, lawsuit plaintiffs, disgruntled employees, and more.
Offshore asset protection trusts are perhaps the best ways in which to store all the physical assets you want to safeguard, ranging from liquid capital to property and much more. But these trusts can also be used to store stocks and bonds alongside other market assets.
If you’re already planning on keeping data safe in an offshore trust with a hard drive, it’s both wise and efficient to use that protective instrument to safeguard other key assets under your name, as well. To get started, get in touch with Dominion’s representatives today.