Security can be an overwhelming, and even demoralizing subject. Many just give up. I’ve heard people say, “If someone wants to get me they’ll get me” or “I have nothing of value so who cares”? Let me say, we can defend against a number of threats with very basic security measures. And, yes you do! This is the first in a series of how to take the first steps to protect what’s important to you.
Make a list of what’s important to you
To take control of your security the first step is to assess and prioritize your assets. This is true for residential, cyber, corporate and personal security. I don’t mean count all your things or rank their value against each other. Simply, make a list of what you have that you want to keep safe and secure.
This is probably the most straightforward category. Take an inventory of your valuable physical assets. They can be luxury items like watches, collectables, vehicles, and jewellery. Also consider irreplaceable or sentimental items. Don’t worry about details like make, model, year or price. Just make a rough list of things that you would like to protect from being lost, stolen, damaged or access in any way without your consent.
Sensitive or Classified Information
Next, assess what sensitive, classified and/or personal information you have or have access to. Hard copy and digital as well as where it is stored. This includes personally identifiable information (PII) like banking, loan or credit information, social insurance numbers, and passports. Also review commercially sensitive information such as business contracts, intellectual property or supplier and pricing lists. Are these in a drawer or on your desktop at home? Are all of your usernames passwords on a post-it note or saved in your phone? This list should be all information that you want to keep confidential, unmodified and that you need to be available to you at all times (you can’t afford to lose it or lose access to it).
Finally, but no less important, think about all the people that you have a duty of care or responsibility for. This can include family members, partners, business associates and employees. This is not strictly in a legal sense. Who is relying on you, and who do you rely on. More broadly, consider reputation as an asset. In addition to your own, are the reputations of others of value to you? Add those people to your list.
This is a very personal exercise. It’s also important. The foundation of an effective security plan is an in-depth understanding of what you have and would like to keep safe, secure and confidential. The next steps will be to assess risk, threats and vulnerabilities to your assets. Then finally, to review if appropriate safeguards are in place to protect them and fill in any gaps.
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