Almost every company today collects personal information on its customers, employees, competitors and anyone else that comes into contact with their business. This information is highly valuable and needs to be protected. Any type of data breach, theft or loss would be disastrous for your business and may result in the loss of trust from clients, damaging your company’s reputation. According to a study conducted by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost per lost or stolen record is $250, with 33% of that being attributed to the loss of business associated with the record in question. Although the majority of the time (52%), a data breach is caused by a malicious or criminal attack, 24% of the time it is caused by a human error, with the other 24% of the time is caused by a system glitch. In order to ensure that your data is secure, we recommend encryption, security policies, updated security infrastructure, and a system to educate your employees on data security.
Encrypt Your Data
All of your stored data, filesystems and company information needs to be encrypted. Encryption is absolutely essential to protecting sensitive data and will help prevent data loss due to theft or equipment loss. In the unfortunate instance where data does fall into the wrong hands, encryption will mean that the perpetrators will not be able to access and use the information. Your organization will still need to address the data breach, but you will have the peace of mind that your data will not be used for malicious purposes.
A strong set of policies and procedures will reduce your susceptibility to data breaches from malicious attacks, human error and system glitches. Setting standards for how all data is handled in your organization may require some thought upfront, but it is a worthwhile investment to avoid issues later. For example, some organizations have a 60 day password policy, where after 60 days you are required to create a new, original password. Another example of a security policy is that employees are not allowed to send any personal emails using company computers to reduce the risk of sensitive information leaving the company network. There are a variety of different policies that could be put in place depending on your organization’s needs. Depending on the amount and sensitive of the data your company is responsible for, it is important that you review these internal policies at least once a year and make sure employees are aware of and abiding by them
A strong security infrastructure is vital to ensuring that all of your data remains in your hands. The term security infrastructure refers to the system in place that will protect your data from malicious attacks as well as human or system error. The first part of a security infrastructure is having an up-to-date anti-virus software that conducts regular scans. This will protect from any malware which attempts to gain access to your files and will prevent your computer from crashing due to a virus. In line with your security policies, it is important to set password standards for your files you’re your network. Employees should only have access to information vital to their job roles. Segmenting network access protects your organization from accidental and malicious data breach that may be caused by an employee. It is also important to regularly back-up your information to mitigate the damage caused by unforeseen technical failures or data breaches.
All your company’s encryption, security policies and security infrastructure are useless if you have not properly trained your employees on how to follow and utilize them. It is very important that your company takes the time to properly teach employees positive and proactive security habits. It is also essential to ensure they are following the guidelines set in your policies and procedures. Employees should be taught how to recognize threats to your security and what to do in case of a suspected data breach. Overall, it is an organization’s responsibility to ensure that there are proper security procedures in place to protect its information, but it is the employee’s duty to make sure that they are following these procedures and using the available resources to protect the company’s data and ultimately your bottom line.