Regardless of the size of a company, data protection has become one of the most crucial aspects in the business world. Many large enterprises have made headlines for suffering data breaches which led them to massive losses. However, the scenario is even more troubling for small and mid-sized companies and the National Cyber Security Alliance has reported that 60% of such companies collapse within 6 months of a cyber attack. Also, with data privacy laws enhanced all around the world, there is an urgency for companies to implement sound data protection measures. In the era of digital transformation, many companies are also encouraging the practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Although it increases operational flexibility and reduces IT costs, it also makes the company more vulnerable to cyber attacks as personal devices don’t always have the same layers of security as the business devices. Data is one of the most critical resources for any organization and protecting it is of prime importance. In the light of evolved and more sophisticated techniques of data breaches coming up every other day, you might want to rethink your company’s data protection strategy to make your data more secure and your system more compliant. Take a look at how it can be done.
- Use of Encryption
Encryption is must for every company that wants to protect its sensitive data. Encryption of hard-drives, phones and USBs along with encrypting data before transferring it to cloud or any portable device is must. A majority of today’s workforce is either on the move or work remotely and their devices frequently leave the safe company networks which increases the risk of data privacy breaches. Encryption ensures even if the devices get stolen or there is data loss, the sensitive data will remain inaccessible for others.
- Identification of Vulnerabilities
It’s important to know what data is being stored and where, and understand how is your data protected. Identify the data flow, vulnerable points and what constitutes a breach of data protection so you can make informed decisions about data protection. Many companies use data discovery tools for scanning sensitive data in the company networks and if they find it on computers which are not authorized to access it, they either encrypt or delete it. Data protection regulations have become more stringent and companies that remain transparent achieve better compliance and formulate effective policies.
- Educating the Workforce
One of the biggest obstacles to data security is the human factor. Employees contribute to 54% of data breaches, under varied circumstances like negligence, ignorance, etc. To step up your data protection strategy, it’s crucial to keep your employees informed and train them on compliance regulations and internal cybersecurity policies. Companies need to take special care to ensure that the same level of data security is maintained in the organization at all levels. Certain software can also help in effective enforcement of company policies. Restricting access to sensitive data and using a multistep authentication are also essential.
- Protection of the Cloud Based Data
Cloud has become an essential part of digitalization but it also raise security concerns for the data that migrates to the cloud. Although many suggest that the cloud service providers apply enough security measures, a lot of organizations still feel nervous about their sensitive data stored in the cloud. Big companies either employ special tools meant for data protection in the cloud or they limit the type of data stored. Another strategy frequently used is encrypting the sensitive data before moving them to cloud.
- Developing Strict BYOD Policies
When employees access sensitive data on their personal devices, the data travels outside the company network and becomes vulnerable to breaches. This threat can be mitigated by restricting the type of data that can be moved outside the company network and marking the level of trust of a device. This helps the employees align their personal device usage with the company policies.
Data breaches can lead to major losses, including financial and reputational, and the threat could be inside or outside your organization. The good news is that with the technologies used in cyber attacks those contributing to data protection are also evolving. However, it’s essential that you regularly evaluate the data protection measures of your company and update them to strengthen the security.