If there is one thing that can immensely jeopardize the integrity of your business, its unprotected data. If your data is exposed to people with malicious intent, it affects your business from every direction. First, it ruins the image of your brand and greatly affects your revenue. Second, the cost incurred by the company for a single data breach is too high and so it takes a great toll on the company’s funds. Potentially, a data breach may push a small company into bankruptcy. Finally, a data breach exposes your business secrets to the outer world which can result in dissolution.
The probability that a company will be victimized by a data breach is 27.7 percent and it is growing at a significant rate with each passing year. Therefore, it is imperative to stress the security of your data and ensure business continuity. No matter the security measures already incorporated in your organizations, optimizing them and keeping them updated is the key to making sure that even if the probability of the breach reaches 50 percent, the probability for the data breach in your business, is zero.
But this is better said than done. It requires the inculcation of various practices to achieve this kind of confidence against the terror of data breaches. You need to understand each aspect of securing your data and then prioritize each security measure depending on your risk model including the potential type of attacks and possible points of infiltration. If you think these tasks should be carried out by a professional with the proper insight and expertise in this space, you are halfway there. But, not everything has to be done by professionals. As an organization, you should adhere to the following practices which will make a huge difference in redefining and solidifying your data security.
Encryption may sound like a task that is not easy to carry out, but it’s time to burst the bubble. Encryption is nothing but the use of some tools or software that protects your data against unauthorized access.
Essentially, encryption is a practice where your data gets encoded into a cypher-text which can only be viewed through a password or a key. Therefore, even if a cybercriminal is successful at procuring your data, he won’t be able to see it and the integrity of your data will remain robust.
A data breach is not the only devil. A data breach doesn’t necessarily mean that your business will be imperiled. Maybe, the data that was stolen is not that sensitive but yours still need that data for your business operations. What if, the data breach is accompanied by malware? Malware is a software that can cause significant harm to your systems and result in the loss of data. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and rogue software.
Maintaining regular backups of your data can save you from this dilemma. Even if there is a Malware attack, you can always rely on your backups for various business operations.
3. Better passwords
This comes at no surprise that your employees probably have their passwords set to their favorite actress, their pet’s name, or a combination of their name and birthdate. Above all, they probably use the most common password according to a global survey – “123456.”
Therefore, this should be the first thing that you need to change in your organization. You need to promote a culture of security rather than a culture of heavy reliance on firewalls and anti-viruses. Encourage your employees to set strong, hard-to-guess passwords with a combination of alphabets(lower case and upper case), special characters, and numbers.
4. Enlightenment for all
Nothing is more effective than the embracement of best security practices by your organization as a whole. Such embracement does not include any special certifications but just simple webinars or newsletters outlining the best security practices and keeping all the employees up to date with these practices.
On the contrary, employee negligence has been found to be one of the most common factors behind data breaches. Imagine the resilience to data breaches you can achieve by just educating your employees.
5. Maintain an inventory
Calculate the number of devices involved in the daily data sharing. Not just computers and laptops but also flash drives, mobile phones, tablets, and other storage devices. These devices are an integral part of your IT infrastructure.
You need to identify the role of each device in the daily business operations of your organization. This will, in turn, help you identify the possible points of a breach and will also help you in keeping track of your sensitive information spanned across various devices.
6. Proper data disposal
It is a common misconception that formatting drives or reinstalling the operating system will delete the data from your old hard drives. In reality, anyone with the right set of tools can easily access this presumably destroyed data.
Therefore, you need to establish a proper data disposal policy and embed it into your organization’s culture. The old data and old devices should be disposed of in accordance with this policy so that your sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
No matter the size or domain, data security is paramount for every organization. Inclusion of the above-mentioned security practices can greatly contribute to maintaining the integrity of your business data. Some of these practices may seem like a hefty task, but they are absolutely necessary. Therefore, the effort spent on their implementation will be well-compensated.
But you need to recognize the fact that security policies and infrastructural security go hand in hand. Incorporating the best security practices alone won’t be sufficient but it will definitely make a huge difference in protecting your data against a breach.