Securing the marriage between your data and your devices

According to a 2015 survey by The Knot, wedding planning has gone mobile, with 89% of couples using their smartphones to stay on top of things to coordinate. The #ChatSTC Twitter chat in June 2016 discussed how couples can practice good online safety through every step of the wedding-planning process and how their guests can be cyber-smart, too. It is that time of the year when wedding wows are shared and rings exchanged. While the spirit of this life-changing event is still about long lasting relationships, technology is changing the business of weddings and the manner in which they are planned and conducted. The Mobile App has come to define the user experience at the weddings months before and after the event itself. Mobile Apps present opportunities for personal information to be shared which increases security concerns. Every transaction is a potential risk for a serious security violation and it is vital that the couple and the guests concerned practice good security habits all the time – even more so when using mobile devices. More than the devices themselves, what matters is the data shared through those devices. Secure be the bond of a lifetime for all couples this season as well as the marriage between their data and their devices!

So, what are the precautions that the couple and the wedding attendees can take to ensure a secure wedding -- and therefore, a fun and enjoyable experience for one and all?

Are you responding to the right invitation? In the flood of emails that hit us, it is easy to open up an invitation, click on the Yes or No button and move on. However, is the invitation you received really a valid one? Clicking on such invitations releases information about the whereabouts of your family members for adversaries on the prowl. Precaution: Check with the bride or the groom if such an invitation was actually sent before clicking on it.

Are you browsing the right gift registry? Couples tend to register for gift items at an online store where attending guests can select the gift item(s) of their choice in alignment with their budget. However, is the online registry you are accessing the one that the couple has actually set up for this purpose? Have they even set one up? Precaution: Again, a good idea to check with the couple. The couple who are getting married can also proactively inform the invitees about their gift registry and other logistics so that attendees are not taken unawares by scam artists on the prowl.

Where are you right now? Mobile apps tend to use our geographic location to provide value-added information especially when we are on the road. Such hints can be especially handy when you are travelling to a new location for the wedding. Wedding planners nowadays provide Mobile Apps that can assist attendees with information specific to the venue. Such apps may want to access your device’s location information to better serve your needs. Precaution: Think before you Accept. Do you really want the Wedding App to know where you are at any point of time? Is this type of information already available through other generic applications on your device? Share your location information selectively with caution.
How are you managing your online accounts? Brides, grooms and family members tend to see a spike in the number of online accounts they have to manage in order to orchestrate the myriad logistics surrounding the wedding. How many such accounts do you have? What is your strategy to manage your credentials? Precaution: Do not use the same authentication mechanism (same password) across all the accounts. Change the password frequently. Close any temporary accounts you may have created just for the event after the intended purpose has been served.

Hey! There’s Wifi available!! Weddings may be held at locations where you may not have proper service from your Service Provider. Even otherwise, you may be tempted to maximize usage of the Wi-Fi -- if available. Think twice before accessing the public wi-fi services. Precaution: Give preference to wi-fi services that require authentication with an access code.

Should you really be posting that photograph? It is not just about security. IT is also about privacy of the people attending the wedding ceremonies. Depending upon the content in the photograph, attendees might be sensitive to it being shared in social media or other channels. Precaution: Ensure that you are sharing photographs that have been taken with the knowledge and assent of the parties concerned. Also, make sure that if you are being photographed, there is no personal information that is easily visible.

There you have it. These are some of the steps that families involved in weddings from the bride and the groom’s side can take to reduce the possibility of sensitive personal information falling into the wrong hands.

At the end of the day, it is really about the mobile device that you carry with you all the time. More than the device itself, it is the data on the device that can have sensitive personal information which could be misused by Adversaries R Us. Encrypting the data on your device and ensuring that you are fully aware of where it is at any point of time would be a prudent measure. Don’t go anywhere without it!

Weddings lay the foundation for secure relationships. However, thanks to the injection of technology in recent times, the security of the data shared by the individuals involved is also vital to an enjoyable experience for one and all.

Here is to wishing all the JUST MARRIED couples -- and their devices -- a long, secure and happy married life!

And yes, do enjoy your honeymoon -- giving your devices a rest!

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About E.G. Nadhan

With over 25 years of experience in the IT industry selling, delivering and managing enterprise solutions for global enterprises, E.G.Nadhan is the Chief Technology Strategist at Red Hat (Central Region) working with the executive leadership of enterprises to innovatively drive Cloud Transformation with Open Source technologies and DevOps. Nadhan also provides thought leadership on various concepts including Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). Nadhan has published 500+ blog posts over four years in multiple Blogs including HP, The Open Group, Enterprise CIO Forum, 1CloudRoad and Intel ITCenter while interacting with analysts from Forbes, Gartner and IDC. Prior to joining Red Hat, Nadhan was an HP Thought Leader and the Global Leader for the Culture of Innovation where he worked with the executive leadership of strategic accounts to realize innovative ideas that address key business challenges for customers. As the Co-Chair for multiple projects within the Cloud Work Group, Nadhan led the publication of the first Cloud Computing Technical Standard and leads the Cloud Governance project within The Open Group. He is a recognized author/speaker at industry conferences and has co-authored multiple books. Follow him on Twitter @NadhanEG. Connect with him on LinkedIn.