Ensuring data security in the digital era is imperative for businesses of all sizes. To keep your data secure, it is important to have a plan in place and be proactive about your security measures. According to the report of IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. If you want to know the best data security tips, you are at the right place. Here are seven practical tips for keeping your business’ data secure.
Significance of Keeping Your Business’ Data Secure:
Maintaining data security is imperative for all businesses. Data management and its overall security should be highly prioritized if you wish to run a successful company. You may not realize it, but any business or organization with its own website is susceptible to hacking and data theft. With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can access sensitive information such as credit card details, customer names and addresses, and much more.
This lack of awareness leads many IT professionals to fall short in keeping their companies safe from cybercriminals. The consequences can be devastating for your business: cyber-attacks will result in money lost, reputation ruined, and customers alienated. Data security is vital to protect your company’s assets – proprietary information, intellectual property (IP), trade secrets – and your employees. As per a survey, 25% of companies have experienced a breach of employee and customer data.
Keep reading to find out what data security is and how to keep your business safe from cybercriminals.
What Is Data Security?
Simply put, data security is a process of protecting information that can be used in some way by a person or organization. It involves preventing unauthorized access, loss, damage, manipulation, and theft of any computerized data. To perform effective data management, you don’t just need to protect your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) but also protect company financial information such as credit card numbers and passwords used for transactions online.
Data security focuses on three main areas:
- Data access control prevents anyone from accessing the wrong file at the wrong time.
- Data integrity, which ensures that data stays accurate and complete.
- Data confidentiality, which prevents data from being disclosed to unauthorized parties.
Data security is essentially a question of trust. You trust that you have your data managed and secure, and your customer trusts the same of their data with you. In order to build up, strengthen, and maintain this trust relationship, several practical steps can be taken on an organizational level as well as for applications and platforms employed by a company or organization.
This article will walk through seven practical tips for keeping your business’ data secure:
Tip #1 – Have a Data Classification Policy
According to its sensitivity, all data must be classified according to its sensitivity – how much harm could come from disclosure? Depending on the type of information held, different types of protection need to be put in place. Data classification policies should note what types of procedures are required for data in each classification.
Tip #2 – Have an Access Policy
All access to sensitive data must be logged and monitored, especially when up-/downgrading privileges. Regular audits of the help desk are also recommended, as the IT support team members can easily hold highly sensitive information without even trying very hard.
Only users with complete need-to-know should have access to this type of information. Who can read or write files? Can they copy these files elsewhere? Is there a limit on the number of characters typed into a password field per session?
These are just some questions that need answering in order to prevent possible abuses by system admins or other administrators within your network environment. This policy should be documented thoroughly so that all employees clearly understand the rules.
Tip #3 – Enforce Strict Password Policy
Strong password policies are essential to protect your data. Passwords should be complex, used only once per site/service, and changed regularly (typically every 90 days). Ensure that the passwords are long and complex enough. These standards will prevent users from using very simple passwords such as “password,” dictionary words, etc.
Suppose your organization employs two-factor authentication such as RSA SecureID tokens or smart cards. In that case, these can also be used to strengthen password policies by denying access to those who aren’t in physical possession of the required device(s) – this is an important step for remote workers who access your network using VPNs.
Tip #4 – Monitor for Unauthorized Devices or Users
Monitoring the number of devices connected to your network is another way to ensure security. If too many devices are connected, it may raise an alarm that unauthorized access has been made to your systems by someone outside of authorized personnel.
Physical access to servers and other IT infrastructure should also be restricted only to those who need it – excessive physical access should also be monitored closely. This can be achieved through several methods such as ensuring visitors are signed in at reception, video surveillance of server rooms/data centers, etc., so that unauthorized personnel cannot gain physical access without being captured on film or recorded by CCTV.
Tip #5 – Encrypt Data at Rest and in Transit
Data encryption is another important aspect of data security. There are several ways to encrypt data, depending on the type of data being discussed. For example, some applications may have built-in file encryption capabilities for sensitive files, while others may need third-party software. Always consult with your IT support before implementing or choosing an encryption method, as there are many different options available that can be tailored to specific business needs.
With respect to transmission of data, always look for HTTPS/SSL during login pages at websites you deal with – this means that any information sent between the browser and server will be safe. Login information should never be transmitted in the clear. SSL certificate will help secure information like card details, username and more. This means that SSL should be considered an effective way to prevent security breaches where cybercriminals steal information for personal use. However, if you have multiple domains so, choose multi domain SSL certificate that can save cost and offers easy certificate management.
Tip #6 – Keep Software Updated and Patched
Software updates are released all the time to fix bugs, patch security holes, etc. Hackers can gain access to your network through various methods that may not have been foreseen by either you or the developer of that software. Always keep everything updated to the latest versions as a matter of best practice.
In addition, make sure it is free from malware and other malicious code. Suppose a device becomes compromised through a lack of security patches or outdated software. In that case, this will affect your systems as a whole, meaning that your other security controls may be breached as well.
Tip #7 – Back-Up Data Regularly and Test Recovery Procedures
Data loss can happen for many reasons and at any time – it isn’t always due to malware or other intrusive methods of data theft we hear about in the news. A hardware failure could also destroy all of your precious data, so having a good backup policy is one of the simplest yet best forms of protection against this ever happening to you.
Make sure that backups are stored securely offsite (at another location such as an external hard drive) or in the cloud if they need to be available online 24/7. It’s important to test these procedures periodically by restoring from backup to make sure everything works as it should when needed. This is an important step for remote workers who access your network using VPNs.
The tips we’ve shared in this blog post will help you better understand how data security works and what steps you can take to protect your business from a breach. We hope that the advice we’ve provided helps keep your company safe and secure!