5 essential data protection methods for your business
Data protection methods are necessary for any company’s data privacy strategy. They are the methods that help protect your company from data breaches, hacking, and other cyber-attacks.
It’s an essential part of any business. Since most enterprises hold their clients’ personal information, they can’t afford data compromise. Hence, every company needs to maintain a form of protection against loss or data manipulation.
Recently, the threat of hackers has increased with the high dependence on technology, resulting in the need for data protection methods. About 40% of the world’s population has access to the internet, and 93% of small business owners in the US use at least one type of technology platform to run their businesses.
This article will provide business leaders with extensive knowledge of company data, data protection methods, and data privacy.
What is data protection, and why should you care?
Data protection is the means companies or individuals employ to protect their information from compromise, destruction, or tampering.
Most businesses today run their operations with data making them prone to threats related to storing data. Companies today employ every possible tool to protect their data and ensure the privacy of both their employees and clients.
Here are the reasons businesses need to care about data protection;
- Loss of intellectual property
Lack of proper security will lead to the loss of intellectual property. Hackers always target systems with poor security, causing the loss of valuable time, assets, capital, and efforts.
- Loss of reputation
People value trust. Nobody wants to keep their data or private information with a company with a poor reputation. Customers and clients avoid companies with hacking history, and this will lead to a decline in sales.
- Legal duty
As a business that controls other people’s data, you are legally responsible for anything that happens to it. So if you fall into this category, data security must be a top priority for your enterprise.
- Financial impact
It is the most notable effect of poor data security. A single attack on your company’s system will cost money.
The average cost of hack attacks ranges from 3.86 million to 4.24 million dollars. Because of such risks, there are a lot of requirements for various companies handling sensitive information.
An agency known as GDPR monitors these requirements. They keep information safe and secure.
Why must companies have a record of processing activities regarding GDPR requirements
Personal information is precious, and its protection is crucial. Specific laws are adopted to help keep personal data secure. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets and enforces these laws.
Following the rules and guidelines, every information and data processing needs a record. Companies need to possess a record of processing activities to stay compliant with the GDPR requirements.
They store the record in a record of the processing activity, also known as ROPA.
The regulators of the GDPR use ROPA to get a good view of your data processing. We know these collections of records as “documentation.”
What are the five crucial steps to prevent data leaks and minimize data loss?
1. Establishing public-private key cryptography in your computers
Private keys are tools experts use for both encryption and decryption. It is called the “private key” as it is used to encrypt sensitive information.
It is symmetric since they share the key between the user and the sender of the encrypted information. The public key, unlike its counterpart, is slower and asymmetric, which means no one will manipulate it.
The private keys prevent hackers from gaining access to sensitive information. In contrast, the public key is being used freely without jeopardizing security.
Private keys ensure complete protection of your data from hackers. Thus, making it impossible to exploit data. However, it’s best to note that encryption will limit amateurs to overcome, but seasoned hackers will access this information without needing a decryption key.
Companies must incorporate other best practices and encryption to ensure their data is safe.
2. Sending sensitive information securely
In addition to ensuring that the data is adequately encrypted, you as a company must ensure that every route taken by your most important data is not susceptible to interference from shady characters.
Some best practices to ensure the safety of your data during movement include:
- Confirm the identity of email receivers
Before sending any information over email, you must ensure you confirm the actual identity of the receiver. Criminals easily pretend to be the owner and, as such, have full access to critical information.
- Incorporate the use of fax machines over email accounts
Fax machines are generally safer for transferring sensitive information. Since the connection between fax machines is lesser than email accounts.
So, fax machines are generally resistant to information theft, making them more secure for sending sensitive information than emails.
3. Understand and secure your endpoints
It’s almost impossible to ensure the safety of the data in the care of an end user without securing the endpoints. Such endpoints comprise every device with access to your business’s network, like mobile devices or personal computers.
Nowadays, and with the prevalence of remote working in many modern companies, endpoints, and end users are widespread. It has made endpoint security harder to trace and secure.
Small businesses expand their endpoint security by ensuring it is mainly cloud-based. Another option is to ensure that iPhone users within the company, with access to the business’ network use the device’s security features. The feature helps identify if any vital information is leaked.
Considering the risks the company software attracts, it is the responsibility of the business to teach their staff the methods of hackers and other cybercriminals.
4. Ensure that all passwords are strong
Without solid passwords at an endpoint device, getting an end-user’s password is not a problem for cybercriminals. These hackers employ various methods to do this.
However, there are also various steps for companies to take to protect themselves and their employees from password attacks;
- Adopt a multifaceted authentication when performing user validation.
- Include a mixture of symbols, numerical digits, and upper and lowercase letters when creating your passwords.
- Ensure that each employee changes their password as often as possible.
- Protect the passwords being used for each account in safe online depots.
5. Choosing the proper protection for your organization
In data privacy and protection, choosing the best option is mandatory. Tools like cloud security and encryption are of the highest quality and priority. These tools make fighting hackers and cybercriminals much more straightforward.
Such tools include
- Data loss prevention tools
- Network security solutions
- Data discovery and classification software
- Employee monitoring software
- Backup and recovery solutions
What are the critical threats to data?
- Social engineering attacks
Data manipulators use social engineering attacks to access organizations’ sensitive information. They manipulate people to share their details to allow them to gain access to their accounts.
Perpetrators of these attacks use phishing texts to deceive their victims into sharing their details. When employees fall for these tricks, the attackers gain access to the organization’s data.
- Security misconfiguration
Security misconfiguration occurs when users need to implement or implement the security settings accurately.
Such mistakes will make an organization prone to data attacks and breaches. Poor management of a system’s security will increase the chances of security configuration. When a developer cannot configure the security of a website, data attackers will have easy access to such a website.
Malware is any software that causes harm or damage to a computer system. The software has the ability to delete completely or steal information; it also changes the device affected, which generally renders it inoperable.
Malware attacks are incredibly destructive to companies or businesses as they often result in the loss or leakage of critical company data.
- Shadow IT
When an end user uses applications or software services not allowed within the workplace or with workplace devices, the practice is called “Shadow IT.”
It is often problematic for most organizations as it is difficult for IT departments to track. Hence, most data security strategies fail to detect it, leading to breaches and compliance risks.
- Advanced persistent threat
Advanced persistent threats or APT is any relentless network attack that carries on for an extended period after the cyber attacker has already gained access to the network. The purpose of this attack is not just to risk the network but to monitor the system or networks of the organization.
Organizations often targeted by this method include giant firms and government institutions where important or strategic information is stolen.
Data protection is crucial to companies
Data is invaluable for most enterprises, and its protection is fundamental. Data manipulation costs companies in several ways, from loss of customers to financial losses. A company with a history of data leaks will have a tough time rebuilding its reputation.
Prioritizing data protection will benefit companies and protect their employees and clients. With the several methods available for data protection, businesses will tighten their security and fight data tampering.