Seven Effective Strategies for Securing Company Data
- by Brittany Day
Securing sensitive company data is essential to running a business. Whether your job is to manage IT issues or you're a part of marketing, accounting, or any other department, you have the access to confidential information that you need to keep private. Data loss and compromise are serious threats that all businesses face.
Unfortunately, while many small business owners may realize many or most of the risks they face, there still may be some risk they're not aware of, or security measures they are not implementing properly that could lead to a false sense of security. This article will introduce seven effective strategies for securing data against data loss, theft and compromise, from data loss prevention (DLP) to data encryption, and more.
How Can I Secure Company Data?
To safeguard your data for your company, it is essential to employ a comprehensive approach that includes technical solutions and organizational practices. In this section, we’ll provide valuable insights into the strategies and best practices your organization can adopt to secure its data and minimize the risk of data breach.
Develop and Implement a DLP Policy
Developing and implementing a data loss prevention (DLP) policy is crucial for organizations to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access and leakage. Data loss prevention is critical for every company and organization, as the loss or compromise of sensitive data can result in significant financial and reputational damages. Data loss can occur for various reasons, including human error, system failures, or natural disasters. But, in many cases, it's the result of a cyberattack. A well-designed DLP policy can mitigate the risks associated with data breach and ensure compliance with industry regulations.
DLP solutions use technologies, policies, and procedures to identify, monitor and protect sensitive data across an organization's network—including endpoints in various locations and cloud applications provided by different vendors. By combining these solutions, organizations can better protect their data from unauthorized access and loss.
Secure Access to Sensitive Data
Securing access to sensitive data is a critical component of any cybersecurity program, regardless of the organization's size or industry. There are several measures businesses can take to secure access to sensitive data. First, organizations should implement a strong authentication process. This can include the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA), a type of security technology that requires multiple methods of authentication to confirm a user’s identity for logins and other transactions. MFA works by combining the user’s credentials to confirm the user logging into the account is the owner.
Additionally, businesses should implement strict access controls. This involves assigning individual user permissions and limiting access to sensitive data to only those who need it for their role.
Train Employees on Data Security
As the frequency and complexity of cyberattacks continues to increase, it is more important than ever for organizations to prioritize employee training to strengthen their cybersecurity strategy. Providing training programs that teach employees how to identify and respond to cyber threats can help organizations reduce the risks of data breach and minimize the impact of security incidents. Ensure employee education and security by identifying their educational requirements, creating appropriate training modules, sharing this information with employees, and fostering a culture of security awareness and attentiveness.
Guardian Digital has excellent free resources and a weekly newsletter to help raise awareness of the threats your organization faces and how to mitigate cyber risk. We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and share our resources within your business as part of your security awareness training strategy.
Encrypt Company Data At-Rest, In-Transit & In-Use
Encrypting data is a critical process that protects sensitive information from unauthorized access and breaches. Encryption is one of the fundamental cybersecurity controls that can help organizations preserve the confidentiality and integrity of their sensitive data. It is critical for organizations to encrypt data at-rest, in-transit, and in-use to protect against all potential opportunities for interception and compromise.
Data encryption offers various benefits including ensuring compliance, making sure that unauthorized users are unable to read data even if it is lost or stolen, and providing peace of mind for customers and employees who know their data is encrypted and secured.
Regularly Backup Data
Not regularly backing up company data can result in devastating data loss, so having a backup strategy to reduce the impact of data breach, cyberattacks, and other disasters is also essential. It is crucial to take specific steps to ensure the safety of your organization's data. These include regularly backing up your data, identifying critical information, choosing the right backup solution, setting up a backup schedule, and testing the backup and restore process.
While backing up your data on a regular basis may reduce the impact of a potential attack, it is important to keep in mind that backups are becoming less reliable as threats like ransomware evolve. Threat actors are getting smarter, attacking backups to prevent recovery. That being said, there are various best practices that companies should engage in to protect their backups from ransomware and other attacks.
Implement Security Measures for Mobile Devices
In today's digital landscape, mobile devices have become integral to our personal and professional lives. However, with increased mobility comes an increased risk of security breaches and data compromise. It is vital to implement the following best practices to ensure strong mobile device security:
- Use strong passwords.
- Encrypt devices.
- Manage mobile devices safely.
- Update software regularly.
Conduct Regular Security Audits & Updates
Organizations must also conduct regular security audits and updates to ensure their cybersecurity measures align with the latest threats, regulations, and best practices. Security updates and audits of assets, risks, and vulnerabilities (such as through vulnerability assessments) are all a part of an effective cybersecurity regimen. Implementing patches or updates to fix vulnerabilities and testing the integrity of updated systems by simulating attacks are also important.
Guardian Digital has a free Email Risk Assessment Toolkit that enables businesses to better understand the risks they face using email, and suggests individualized measures they can take to reduce their risk and improve their email security. The assessment takes less than two minutes to complete.
Keep Learning About Securing Company Data
Protecting company data is an essential aspect of information security. Malware, malicious individuals, or organizations can all cause data loss, theft, or compromise. All businesses should have strategies in place to protect sensitive information across various systems, cloud-based locations, and endpoint devices.
- Implementing a comprehensive email security system can help prevent advanced threats, such as targeted spear phishing and ransomware.
- Learn more about effectively protecting your business from ransomware.
- Improve your email security posture to protect against attacks by following best practices.
- Keeping the integrity of your email safe requires securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.
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