Data has been at the center of almost every major tech innovation in the last two decades. It’s been the topic of international debate, concern, and analysis by everyone from online forums to government intelligence agencies. We’ve even seen documentaries pop up and win awards with their insights on how data is collected and who it serves. The majority of people in the world, despite all of this information, tend to favor opinions that are not in the best interest of their data.
The Rise Of Data
Data is the number one most valuable commodity on Earth—soaring past oil in the 2010’s, and virtually nobody is actively trying to protect it. It’s as if it has no value to us simply because we don’t know how to use it. Well, if we rewind towards the late 1800’s during the initial uses of combustion engines, being on top of oil would have meant nothing to us either. The world ran on steam. If someone came up to us then wanting to buy our property for its perceived value as opposed to the oil’s value, we’d be duped out of millions. Same goes for data. Now, it might not have the immediate individual value as oil, but it bears reiterating that it has enough intrinsic value for you to want to protect, for your safety and the safety of the lines you create by simply being on the internet.
What Is Data And Why Is It Important?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we should probably define what data is. Data is a broad term used to describe what you do online. It is the umbrella word used for everything, including but not limited to:
- What you buy
- Where you do banking
- What you search
- Your keystrokes while typing, including commonly misspelled words
- When you are online
- How much time you spend online
- Who you communicate with
- Where you are
- What you like
- How often you visit a website
All of this is not only tracked, it’s sought after more than gold. The process of storing this data is under the umbrella term “digital assets.” The derivation of usable information from said data is called “data mining.” It’s data mining that turns this random goop of seemingly meaningless online movement into something that companies and governments can use. Data mining companies use data analysis techniques to figure out what entire populations and demographics have a tendency towards in terms of purchases, searches, and behavior. This concise and transcribed data, in turn, helps companies target their products and services to increase profits.
The Power Of Your Data
As much as this may sound like a harmless practice, remember that these people are doing this under very loose laws. As Cambridge Analytica showed us, the world of data and it’s uses can be both vague and extremely powerful. You can sway international politics, change perceptions, and influence millions, as well as sell diapers and milk. These are the people doing it legally. With the same pathways used to gather legal data, rogue companies and governments can do so without the law in mind. This is where you need to take proactive measures to protect your data.
How Do I Protect My Data?
Your first and most important protecting your data is to have a good antivirus. Yes, antivirus software seems like something from the early 2000’s when we would “click on the wrong thing” and have a whole bunch of unseemly pop-ups flood our computer. Like human viruses, these digital viruses evolve. The advent of Apple and their software base has made a whole generation of people really lenient when it comes to protecting their computers. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist. This just means that the people making these viruses are much more innovative.
Which Antivirus Is The Best?
The top two complete anti-virus softwares are Bitdefender and ESET. They’ve been around for a while now and still remain industry standards. Having a really helpful comparison breaks down the jargon from the solid info. Experts at places like Cima Tech are good at simplifying odd and strange terms elevator-pitched by the tech world. Everyone is trying to “revolutionize the way” and “disrupt” and they tend to forget that the most important asset in communication is clarity.
What Happens If I Don’t Protect My Data?
Not protecting your data leaves you open to everything. The world of online movement and behavior doesn’t end when you turn off your phone. People have their entire lives online. They have banking and credit card data online. They have photos of their children stored online. They have everything from where and what they ate last night, to where and what they deposited in the bank. Between those two extremes is a huge chasm of information that can serve as a blind spot. If you don’t protect your data, all of that is open for hackers and unseemly companies to use.
One can rely on their service provider to protect it, but it’s not really in their best interest to do so. Unless they get hacked, they do not care. If you, the individual, gets hacked, they’re not at all responsible, nor will they be around to help. The safety and the security of your data rests solely on you. That may seem big, but if you’re willing to put in a minimal amount of time and investment, you can reduce the likelihood of anything being stolen or being hacked by magnitudes. Once you’ve got the proper protection installed, it’s really just about renewing the service. It doesn’t impede your experience.
Taking things into your own hands is the smart thing to do. When it comes to data, you don’t have to put much effort at all. You just have to do your research and make the decision that fits your lifestyle. If you’re not really into all that technical jargon, there are services that separate the wheat from the chaff, so to say, and present industry terminology in ways that anyone can understand. From there, you can sit back, relax, and surf the web knowing that you’ve done what you can to keep your important information safe.