Beware the Data Vampires

Here come the data vampires. And they vant to thuck your wallet..

Barely funny, I know. Couldn’t resist; let’s move on.

While most of us have unlimited data plans at our homes and offices—and more and more on mobile devices as well—the idea that data is constantly flowing through your connections is one you want to keep in mind. This could be about money. It could be about security. Or it might not matter on either front but you could find it…well, creepy.

I’ve mentioned data costs here a few time, as far back as when Google Music first arrived and as recently as when the Pixel Phone was introduced. And this isn’t strictly a Google issue, but our overlords in Mountain View do keep sucking data.

Even the non-technology press saw this coming five years ago. And having always been able to simply adapt I haven’t really given data vampires much thought. Until today.

I was recently out of the country for a couple of weeks. This morning I was doing some catch-up paperwork and noticed that in my absence a not-insignificant amount of data got sucked through my home Internet connection:

Data Vampires at My Home While I Wasn't

Those small data points on June 1 through 9 don’t look like much. But when I drilled down it turned out they represented about 500 MB of data. Each day. With nobody home. Imagine this was your cell phone and you had a 10 GB per month data cap. Just these data vampires would have eaten it all, and then some.

Where Are Your Data Vampires?

The data vampires thing could be a real problem. And there may not be anything you can do about it.

I logged into a server at my home a couple of times when I was away. But that’s it; literally, I connected twice in twelve days, and yet, 500 MB ran through the pipe daily. As with the refrigerator and a couple of lights eating electricity, the data vampires continued relentlessly. But unlike with never-off electric appliances, I have no idea what sucked all that data.

I mentioned security above, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have an information-getting-stolen problem. And if I change my mind there are steps I can take to encrypt everything. But it’s creepy to think that much data is always running through my connection, even if it’s “OK”.

What about you, though? More important, what about your business—or your clients’? What’s your responsibility for protecting data flow in the pipes you manage?

What if there’s a liability lurking behind those data vampires?

A friend and long-time client once described computer security to me by saying “I can’t guarantee you’ll never have a security problem, but I can guarantee your recovery from it”. And that’s the key. Data Vampires, like other problems of uncertain origin, require a bit of planning and planning is what we do here.

Let’s get you started.

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