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8 Critical Data Security Tips for Your New SSD

Samsung T7 vs. SanDisk Extreme

8 Critical Data Security Tips for Your New SSD

What are the best security tips for your new SSD? As a former system administrator and cybersecurity specialist, there is nothing more sacred than data. To call it the lifeblood and currency of the digital age is an understatement. Your data is a valuable commodity, and you might be using that new SSD for storing valuable files like banking information and other sensitive documents.

Today’s guide will cover the best actions you can take to ensure not only security for your new SSD but also some peace of mind when it comes to your data. There are quite a few actions you can take at home to safeguard your information and increase your security posture. These are easy fixes as well, requiring just a bit of know-how to get things rolling.

Have an External Backup Drive

SanDisk vs. Samsung SSD: Which is Better?
An external SSD or mechanical is a fine option for on-site backup storage.

One of the biggest security tips for your new SSD relates entirely to backing up your data. I get it, you’ve already purchased a new drive, so why get another? What you need to understand is that when it comes to data, more is always going to be better than just having a single drive. If you work with particularly sensitive data this is a must.

That of course, is going to be applicable especially if you do any sort of work from home. Different industries will have varying needs. Even if you aren’t working from home, having working backups stored locally is going to be crucial for your day-to-day operations.

Having an external backup drive helps safeguard the data, and establishes continuity in the event of a ransomware attack or drive failure. There are numerous imaging utilities online and built into your operating system to help facilitate making an external backup drive a viable option.

Store Important Files in Cloud Storage

zip bomb
Cloud storage is a safe and effective way to provide an off-site backup of your data.

You’ve already got a brand-new SSD, so why should you bother looking at cloud storage? When it comes down to it, in cybersecurity especially, you will have on-site and off-site backups. On-site backups are a wonderful tool to have on hand and help to reimage a drive quickly. However, you might need to access crucial data from a different computer.

As such, one of the best security tips for your new SSD is going to directly correlate to your off-site backup options. There are numerous vendors available that provide secure and encrypted access to cloud storage as a whole. You’ll want to engage in at least one service to store crucial files and data for your own needs.

Cloud storage is perfectly safe, provided you choose the right vendor. Options like iCloud and Dropbox have reasonable security measures in place while being an affordable alternative for most users. You don’t need to spend a bundle every month on enterprise-grade cloud storage.

Use a Secure Password

Lock the phone with a password for mobile cybersecurity or a password to confirm login in the online banking application. Cyber security threats. Laptop and smartphone.
A secure unique password for each login is a massive security boost for your data.

One of the best security tips for your new SSD that I would personally recommend is setting up a strong and secure password for everything. That means your operating system login and any online accounts. When it comes down to it, your new SSD is going to be home to things like stored logins through the operating system’s keychain, along with anything else in your browser.

You don’t want to reuse the same password across multiple platforms either. That makes you an easy mark for any bad actor who somehow gets access to your computer. Password management software is available freely on the web as well, provided you’re alright with storing encrypted hashes of all your passwords locally.

Some operating systems even have native suggestions for strong passwords, like macOS. As such, if you’re looking to make the most of the security of your new SSD, implement good password practices to safeguard your device. Your security posture is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.

Encrypt Your Storage Drive

types of cryptography
Your sensitive data will only benefit from being stored on an encrypted drive.

Encryption is one of the strongest tools you can utilize when safeguarding your data. Just about every operating system has encryption standards you can implement for your storage drives. Some, like Bitlocker for Windows, are natively integrated into the operating system itself. What this leads to is an enhanced security password.

You might implement a strong password on your operating system with your new SSD. However, that means nothing if the drive itself isn’t protected. Encryption is going to be a great tool to keep any compromises of your data from occurring. The data contained on the drive will appear as a garbled mess without your key to use.

Just about every device you use can benefit from encryption, and it is a standard practice in my former field to have valuable drives protected in such a manner. While encryption isn’t a foolproof solution, it is one of the strongest tools you have available at any level for safeguarding data.

Install Antivirus Protection

virus alert
You don’t want to be caught without some degree of protection like an antivirus on your computer.

This might seem an obvious security tip for your new SSD, but you should have an antivirus running. Something with regularly updated definitions and a strong developer is always going to be the best route when it comes to common malware infections. Now, that doesn’t mean much if you’re infected with ransomware.

However, for common trojans, worms, and other backdoors, you can circumvent a large portion of these issues through the use of an antivirus program. If you’re on Windows, Defender is a fantastic option that has been thoroughly refined over the last decade.

The previous tips are strong suggestions for improving your overall security posture. However, an encrypted drive doesn’t mean much if you’re dealing with a virus infection on your computer. In addition to an antivirus, exercise good computing practices.

Opening attachments in emails from unknown addresses is a recipe for disaster. You’ll also want to double-check any URL to make sure it is the intended site. Finally, you’ll want to avoid any sort of piracy, as this can often lead to rampant malware infections from any group distributing illicit materials.

Control Who Uses Your Computer

blacklist
You can allow your kids and other family members to use your computer, but they don’t need access to everything on the device.

One of the strongest security tips for your new SSD is to simply curtail who has access to your computer. Any operating system allows for multiple user profiles, and if you have the savvy you can set what privileges are given to users on your computer.

This is a basic tenet of cybersecurity, you don’t want unfettered access to every machine. When I still was doing cybersecurity and system administration, we certainly wouldn’t let someone in sanitation have access to the accounting or sales department.

You want to implement a methodology called the principle of least privilege. If you’re allowing other users to access materials and resources on your computer, only allow the bare essentials of what they can do.

That means you don’t want to give open administrative access to the operating system, as well as restricting access to important directories and files. You can implement this in Windows through the Users menu in the Control Panel.

Mac and Linux machines have similar utilities and tools available, and you absolutely should be using those if you’re sharing your computer with other people.

Erase Unused Data Thoroughly

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Securely deleting data from your drive isn’t simply a matter of deleting it natively, that still leaves data on the drive.

As a matter of course, you’ll eventually have files that no longer serve any use. One of the best security tips for your new SSD to implement is to undergo good drive sanitation practices. Now, encryption and backups are fine. However, when it comes to unused data and files, you’ll want to wipe those thoroughly.

Some utilities help to finalize data erasure. As it stands utilizing your operating system’s delete function is fine for most files. That said, sensitive data has a different set of priorities. Windows has a utility called Cipher, which is used for this express purpose.

You see, while you might have a file gone from the Recycle Bin, the write data is still present on the drive. Cipher, a utility through PowerShell, can overwrite the now deleted sectors of your SSD with clean sectors.

Any bad actor can gain access to an SSD and use forensic software to recover “deleted” data. However, utilizing a program to permanently erase those sectors is going to be one way to greatly improve your overall security.

Keep Track of Drive Health

samsung qvo vs evo
Any SSD should come with utilities to monitor the overall health of the drive.

SSDs have a shelf life, which is usually measured in a handful of years. You can’t expect a drive to last for longer than a decade, they serve a far different function than stable tape drives or mechanical drives.

That said, one of the best security tips for your new SSD isn’t for security. Rather, it concerns the safety and reliability of your SSD. Just about any SSD on the market is going to have SMART reporting, and you can readily find utilities that report on the drive.

This is a great way to keep track of the overall health of your system, files, and the expected life you can get out of an SSD. Now, I do have a handful of old SSDs that still have a measure of usability left in them after a decade, but that’s the exception.

Keeping track of your drive health is going to prepare you for any possible outcome, and it only helps to increase your overall security as a whole. This really should be a given, especially if you’ve been using SSDs for some time.

Summary of 8 Critical Data Security Tips for Your New SSD

RankSecurity Tip
1Have an external backup drive.
2Store important files in cloud storage.
3Use a secure password.
4Encrypt your storage drive.
5Install antivirus protection.
6Control who uses your computer.
7Erase unused data thoroughly.
8Keep track of drive health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need cybersecurity?

Everyone does. Your data is valuable, regardless of your field or profession.

Can I use a drive without encryption?

Sure, and that’s a fine practice for a drive you intend to solely use for gaming.

Can I reuse passwords?

Given the amount of data breaches in the last decade, I would advise you not to reuse a password for anything.

Is there a need for mechanical drives still?

They are still one of the most reliable ways to make backups you can find.

Should I get a tape drive for my home?

Most users can avoid getting a specialized device like a tape drive.

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