ID Experts attended the 2017 Symantec Government Symposium in Washington, D.C. recently and we were glad to hear a speaker talk about the importance of investing in an incident response plan. The advice may sound basic but, in our experience, not everyone is prepared for the inevitable data loss.

Data losses, including the exposure of personally identifiable information (PII), happen. Whether the exposure is on a piece of paper left on a printer or a system being hacked, having a plan helps ensure a thoughtful, speedy and compliant response.

The comment got us thinking about some other basic cyber hygiene, and, as we approach the end of the year, I’d like to share some other best practices for our professional and personal cyber security.

First, know what PII you have, where it is and get rid of what you don’t need.

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For our personal data protection, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers an excellent infographic about how long to maintain documents, ranging from sales receipts to birth certificates, and when to shred. In our professional lives, whether we are the Chief Information Security Officer, or simply a member of the workforce, we should also know the importance of being safe in cyberspace, protecting PII data and take steps to properly destroy what we can.

Large organizations realize that the workforce and/or customers are an important component of basic cyber hygiene – if not the first line of defense. Make sure 2018 includes a plan to educate users on practicing good cyber behavior, including password management, identifying potential phishing efforts, and which devices to connect to the network.

Lastly, take the time to teach your child, a student, intern or new employee about the importance of cyber safety in their personal and professional lives. ​