Protecting personal data

Submitted by: Shannon Cross, USA Funds account executive
Cyber security is a frequent topic in the news these days. The risk of information theft often goes hand in hand with the convenience of electronic resources and applications. There are things you can do to help keep your personal information — and the sensitive student information you interact with — private. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as credit cards, date of birth and Social Security Numbers should not be shared on applications you do not trust.

Tips for keeping information secure
Anyone who has been the victim of identity theft will likely tell you that the minor inconvenience of taking action to protect your personal data is well worth it to avoid the major disruption of having your sensitive information stolen.

When your computer prompts you to update the operating system, do it. These updates
  often include security repairs.
• Log off of any secure applications and close your web browser when you are finished.
• Beware of using open Wi-Fi in public places to conduct secure transactions.
• Think differently to create a more secure password. For example, use the first letter of
   each word in a sentence to create your password. And, never write down or share your
   user ID, password, or challenge questions/answers.
• Refrain from opening emails with attachments if you don’t know the sender.
• Pay attention to the information you are sharing on your social networks.
• Don’t forget to be cautious with your offline data as well. Shred documents that contain
  personal or financial information.

As someone who deals with others’ personal information every day, you should place strong emphasis on ensuring appropriate controls are in place to protect sensitive, private or confidential student information.