In today’s digital world, data rules. No matter what data collection tools your organization is using to gather data, you need to protect what you collect. Each and every day, your organization gathers, manages, and shares large quantities of data. From technical and commercial business information to customer contact details and banking specifics, data is fundamental to your business. In light of this, data security needs to be a top priority.
One data security breach is enough to wreak havoc in the form of fraud, identity theft, the disclosure of trade secrets, and more. Collateral damage aside, think about the costly and time-consuming task of replacing data. Worse yet, consider the fact that your data may in fact be irreplaceable.
And what about legal costs? It’s common knowledge that security breaches often lead to lawsuits. Last but not least, lose your customers’ data and you’re sure to lose their trust.
The bottom line is this: compromise your data and you compromise the survival of your business. With this in mind, here are some security mechanisms and procedures you can implement to better protect your business data and that of your valued customers.
1. Prevent unauthorized access to your data.
Cyber bullies are constantly finding new ways to outsmart firewalls, passwords, antivirus software, and other security measures. That said, it’s not just hackers you have to worry about. Your employees are human, and human negligence poses as much of a threat to your data security as do hackers.
To help prevent unauthorized access to your corporate applications and/or data and protect your business against physical and cyber threats:
- Encrypt your data. This is the most effective way to prevent unauthorized users from accessing information stored within your network.
- Make sure you update your company software regularly.
- Protect all company devices with passwords and change passwords regularly.
- If an employee leaves, change the passwords to all applications they had access to immediately. (e.g. CRM, messaging, software, and database passwords.)
- Always use two-factor authentication to validate authorized users during login.
- Implement role-based access controls (RBAC). RBAC allows you to determine who can access what type of data and information based on their specific role. Essentially, you can limit employee access to only the information required for them to perform their duties effectively.
2. Identify data security threats.
To avoid having to deal with damage control tomorrow, identify your security threats today. Here are some steps you can take to assess any defects and/or vulnerabilities in your data security system:
- Carry out a risk assessment. This will help you understand what your data security system looks like from an attacker’s perspective.
- Undertake a vulnerability assessment to uncover any security weaknesses in your information system.
- Conduct a safety assessment.
3. Protect your data.
As obvious as this may seem, not all organizations take sufficient measures to protect their data. If your computer system fails, your data could be damaged or lost. If your company is hacked, your data could be held at ransom by cyber criminals. To protect your data against either of these possibilities:
- Make sure you backup your company data externally – either on the cloud or on a physical back-up drive. This is the only way you’ll be able to recover losses in the event your system fails or undergoes an attack.
- Backup your important data and information regularly – ideally every 24 hours; once per week at the very least.
4. Use spam filters.
If one employee accidentally opens a fraudulent email, your entire network could be compromised. Spam filters help protect your employees and networks against viruses that could infiltrate your company via spam and phishing emails.
5. Educate your staff.
As mentioned above, employee negligence poses as much of a threat to your data security as do cyber attackers. Training staff around password management, deceptive emails, suspicious online activities, and best cybersecurity practices, reinforces their responsibilities around network access. This, in turn, helps minimize negligence.
At Coral, we’re in the business of helping businesses collect, save, and share company data with ease. We believe in the value of data and hope you’ll consider implementing some of the data security recommendations shared here. Your business and your customers depend on it.