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April 5 2022

Security Features to Look Out For Before Sharing Sensitive Information

With the threat of data breaches becoming more commonplace, it’s natural to be hesitant in sharing personal and/or sensitive information. Government entities and employees tend to have robust security measures in place, but they are only as secure as their weakest vendor. 

So what are some good security measures and features to look out for when choosing vendors, companies and apps to work with in off-duty management, particularly where you will be sharing personal information? And, is there anything you can do on your own to mitigate the risk of your information getting leaked?

Security Features to Expect

Make sure the site is secure. 

  • The URL should start with https and have a lock icon.
  • Credit card transactions should be PCI compliant.
  • Site should use encryption, firewalls, threat detection, and data masking.

User registration and authentication. 

  • Look for password complexity enforcement as the first line of defense. 
  • Make sure the app or website will lock an account after too many failed attempts. 
  • Look for multi-factor authentication - and opt to use it if it isn’t required.

If looking at vendors, ask for best practices in security. They should:

  • Align with your agency’s security and regulatory requirements. 
  • Segregate each client’s data through user permissions and roles. 
  • Highlight continuity plans and cyber insurance in case of a breach.

What Can You Do?

Use strong passwords. Passwords should be:

  • Longer than 8 characters, the longer the better.
  • Contain a mix of letters, numbers, etc.
  • Contain no dictionary words or commonly known passwords.
  • Used in combination with 2 Factor Authentication whenever it's available .
  • Managed with a password tool (like LastPass) to help you keep track and prevent reuse.

Update your device, software and apps. 

  • Updates often include security-based changes and enhancements. 
  • Keeping an old version of an app hanging around can leave your data vulnerable. 

The data of your agency and officers needs to be protected, even when looking for off-duty technology. Make sure to vet any software or mobile application that holds sensitive or personal information to eliminate the risks associated with a data breach. Ensuring appropriate controls and policies is as much a question of organizational culture as it is of deploying the right toolset, or hiring the right vendor.

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