Whether it’s financial reports, healthcare records or a start-up business plan, every company collects data that requires safeguarding. The costs of breaches, lawsuits and fines are high—not to mention damage to a brand’s reputation. This is why it’s imperative to take steps, tactics and best practices to ensure data safety.
Data security involves encrypting and protecting the information stored within an organization’s computer systems and networks. It also includes limiting access to this information and monitoring activity to ensure compliance with organizational policies.
While there are many threats that can put sensitive information at risk, the most common include malware (malicious software), phishing attacks and insider threats. These types of attacks can be prevented with a combination of security technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, and anti-virus/malware tools.
Another challenge is ensuring that all employees are trained in data safety. This training should be included as part of new hire onboarding. It should also be ongoing, with regular refreshers and training on the latest scams. In addition, with remote and hybrid work becoming more prevalent, it’s important to ensure that all devices—both organizational and personal—are properly encrypted and protected against hacking and unauthorized access.
There is a difference between data privacy and data security. Data privacy focuses on keeping sensitive information private from non-authorized parties, while data security focuses on protecting the integrity of information. This is mainly accomplished through access control (limiting who can view, edit and save files), authentication (using passwords, PIN numbers, security tokens, swipe cards, etc.), encryption and configuration management.
In addition, companies must make sure they have a back-up copy of all data in case the original file is lost or damaged. This can be done through a physical disk, local network or cloud storage system. This is particularly vital for regulated industries, like healthcare and finance, where they must comply with additional standards to protect user data.
Finally, it’s important to periodically purge old or unused data. This can be done with systems that track and monitor file activity, as well as using digital shredding or degaussing to ensure the data is no longer accessible. It’s also helpful to have a policy in place that instructs teams to double-check that any physical copies (like X-rays, microfilm, or negatives) are destroyed as well.
Data security is a major concern for all organizations. With increased regulations and the number of data breaches continuing to increase, it’s more critical than ever to invest in cybersecurity measures. By taking the proper steps and implementing the right technologies, you can protect your organization’s most valuable asset.