You may have read the news that Sony’s PlayStation online store was recently compromised.

It’s news that further illustrates just how important it is to protect data given how vulnerable it can be – even for massive corporations like Sony.

The company immediately said the problem had lasted only two hours and there was no sign of any damage, or more worryingly, data theft.

All of the data stored on our computers and electronic devices can be vulnerable if we are not careful, but there are a number of ways we can go about protecting our IT devices and more importantly – the information stored on them. Here are five of them.

1) Encrypt Your Data

Encrypting your data ensures that if someone were to get their hands on your computer, they wouldn’t be able to easily access your files or get hold of your personal data. On certain versions of Windows it’s a pretty simple process and on other systems there is software available to enable this.

2) Use Strong Passwords

Let’s face it, there’s no point encrypting your data if someone can just turn on your computer or laptop and log straight in by guessing your secret code. So you need to use a strong password that is at least 8 characters long (longer is better!) and contains a combination of numbers, symbols and letters that will make it more difficult for someone to gain unauthorised entry. So take some time to come up with a password that’s unique to you and meets these criteria.

3) Secure Your Network

Are you regularly using insecure or shared networks? What about when you are out on the road, at airports or in hotel rooms? You can never be absolutely sure who is sharing the same network. Even your home wireless network can be used by others to gain access to your equipment. So if you spend a lot of the time online via a wireless network, make sure you are using all the security measures available to you. And if you don’t trust it – don’t risk it.

4) Avoid using the cloud to store sensitive information

Yes, using cloud technology has made it easier for all of us when it comes to storage limitations and easy access to our files from remote locations. But it also presents its own dangers when it comes to storing valuable information. Rather like storing all of your valuables in one place in the home, if the worst does happen, you have nothing to fall back on. So if you have crucial and sensitive information be careful which cloud service you use, always have your own backup or in the most sensitive situations consider whether the cloud is right for you.

5) Update your Operating System

Operating systems are constantly updated to stay in tune with technological advances, as well as fixing vital security holes which may have appeared since your last update. So when you have a notification that a new update is ready to be installed, don’t ignore it. You can even turn on the “automatic updates” feature that operating systems provide, so you won’t even have to lift a finger when the time comes.