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Real Life: WHY Good Cybersecurity Practices Matter — in the Office and On-the-Road

These past several months I’ve been sharing practical advice and lessons learned during my 15+ years in the security industry. My stories and insights are always real but, borrowed from the customers I serve. This month my story gets personal.

Daily I’m educating customers on why they need to protect their organizations against data breaches. And thankfully, I’m able to be part of an organization offering what I think are some of the best solutions on the planet. Well this month, my own advice got put to the test in a very real and raw way.

After a long day in the office, I opted to stop for a short yoga class to relax and refresh before heading home to my family. It was already dark when I got to class but no different than most winter evenings. But as it turned out, this night would be very different. Upon returning to my car after class I was greeted by the horrifying sight of a smashed rear window. A bit stunned, my first reaction was fear — not knowing if the perpetrators were still near. Once I determined I was alone, my next fear was for the valuables I’d left locked in the trunk of my car including my company-issued laptop, phone and smart card. Looking through the smashed window I confirmed all were gone.

I reported this loss to our team at Axiad IDS at 8:10 p.m. and by 8:25 p.m. our security program had been activated. My phone was disabled and the smart card was deactivated.

The lesson I want to share with you from this experience is why practicing what you preach is so important. Every day we educate our customers on the importance of encrypting data and the power of multi-factor authentication and trusted identities. Because the data on my laptop was encrypted — even at rest — there was no way the thieves could hack into it — regardless of when the crime was reported. 

And this is why trusted identities are so critical. I’ll dig into the topic of multi-factor authentication in another post but for now know the protection it provided the data on my stolen laptop was priceless. Not only did it ensure my company was  protected, but because we also use a separate mechanism to securely back-up our data, I was up and running the next morning. No down time.

If you can relate to my story, I welcome you to reach out to learn more about how you can protect your own data and that of your organization (and its partners and customers). The sad truth about data breaches is that the devastation can go well beyond the person hacked. The impact reverberates throughout industry and in some cases the world.

In closing… Remember Kindness in 2018

Bringing my experience full circle. More than the fear or the affirmation for encrypted data, this experience reminded me of the power of kindness. Sounds crazy, I know, but what I will forever remember — more than the shattered glass and stolen possessions — is:

  • The kindness of the yoga instructor who sat me down, brought me water, offered to drive me home;
  • The kindness of my co-workers who had to work through the protocol late at night but FIRST asked how I was — sharing compassion rather than irritation; and
  • The kindness of my own husband whose only concern was my safety — not the ‘pile of stuff’ as he referred to it.

I hope you are showered with kindness in 2018 and find even more opportunities to pass it along.

I’ll look forward to sharing more tips and insights throughout the year and I’d love to hear from you, too. What are you doing to protect yourself and your organization in 2018?

 
 
 
 

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Monica Nascimento is the Vice President of Solutions Marketing at Axiad IDS. Axiad IDS provides trusted identity and access solutions allowing customers to: safely interact online; the freedom to access information from anywhere; and the confidence to fully benefit from today’s digital world.

 To consult with an Axiad IDS security expert, feel free to reach out to me at monica@axiadids.com