Data distancing: 8 reasons why quarantine is the perfect time for a digital data audit

Gal Ringel
min read

<hl>Why you should be using this time to conduct a data audit<hl>

An online privacy audit is like an annual checkup. We all know we need to take a closer look at the information we share with businesses and organisations, but since most of the time we remain unaware of any possible damage, we just put it on the shelf and move on with our daily lives. The current situation, in which millions of people around the world have been keeping safe at home for weeks, creates the perfect setting for an in-depth spring cleaning. So, why not include our digital data in the process? Here are eight solid reasons to conduct a data audit right now and minimise the chances of someone taking advantage of your private information.

Digital Audit

1. You have the time

If your quarantine to-do list includes organising the messy drawer and scheduling a Zoom video chat with your 5th cousin, you clearly have some time on your hands. Add a digital detox to the list before life goes back to normal, and your ususal excuses become valid once again. A long list of tools can help you unsubscribe from annoying newsletters, delete unused apps, easily manage all your passwords, manage your digital footprint, and more.

2. Hackers are out to get you, even more than ever

Many people have become a little lazier than usual during the outbreak, but not hackers. In fact, they are taking advantage of our increased online presence and remote work to attack individuals and organisations using the newest hacking methods. They target the platforms we’ve all been using lately, such as Zoom, and use their quarantine time to become more sophisticated and dangerous. If your data is out there, they will do their best to find it. Be more alert than ever regarding phishing scam emails and don’t click any links from unknown sources.

3. Others are relying on you

Your employer and the family members staying with you during this time need you to be extra careful with your data so that those hackers we’ve mentioned will not reach their information through you. If an attack leaves you locked out and unable to reach your own computer files, it would be particularly challenging to find an IT professional who can save the day under the current circumstances. It would be wise to have “the talk” with all family members and discuss the proper approach to data sharing during these times.

4. We know more about data-tracking tactics

The epidemic investigations conducted to locate virus spreading sources exposed many of us to the different ways in which our activities, both online and off can be tracked. We’ve learned, for instance, that metro rides are monitored, causing us to never look at our innocent MetroCard the same way again. Even companies that don’t usually share details regarding their tracking capabilities out in the open, such as Google and Apple, seem to be more transparent these days. This newfound awareness can be a little shocking, but it is also a good motivator for a thorough data cleanse.  

5. Your digital footprint is expanding

A recent research we’ve done here at Mine revealed that unsurprisingly, spending more time online and reaching a 55% increase, on average, in some areas of the world, also makes our digital footprint grow, meaning we expose our data to more businesses and the third parties they collaborate with. We can see that users worldwide have expanded their footprint by 36-66%, which increases the risk of exposure to digital threats and identity theft. Now is the time to take back control and cut the data connection to those who do not bring any value in exchange for the data they consume.

6. New companies enter the digital game

Businesses that until recently didn’t have a digital product to offer or had a very minimal online presence, were forced to step up their digital game very quickly. The result is an incredible digital boom, on the one hand, but insufficient security measures on the other. The rapid pace combined with some companies’ lack of digital know-how exposes users’ data to harmful forces. It’s best to be selective regarding the sites you choose to sign up for or purchase from.

7. We need a sense of balance and control

When everything goes out of hand, and reality seems to be completely off the rails, anything that adds to our sense of control can be mentally and practically beneficial. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of keeping things balanced and can appreciate the ability to manage our data during times of uncertainty. A data audit can make you feel better about yourself and become more digitally wiser and safe, which is everything right now.

8. Preparing for the day after the outbreak

We don’t know how long the current situation will last, but we know that at some point quarantine time will be over. This notion is extremely comforting, but it also means that we should prepare for that day, and it is up to us to set boundaries around the issue of online privacy and data use. Online privacy standards seem quite blurry at the moment, which is understandable but should still be addressed.  

It’s hard to imagine how we would deal with this crisis without our online connection to the world. As our ability to step out into the world decreases, we rely on the world wide web more and more. Performing a data audit is always a good idea, but right now, it is crucial. Safety issues are on everyone’s mind at the moment, and we encourage you to stay at home and keep safe, very much including your online presence.  

Data distancing: 8 reasons why quarantine is the perfect time for a digital data audit

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