Data security is a must not just because it involves the financial matters of the business, but also because it has sensitive information about your clients and they provided you this information because they have trusted you. A single data security breach can throw your highly visible brand out of sight, because you don’t just lose money with it, but also the trust.
We simply cannot stop the hacking attacks, but we can certainly take some measures to protect the business data. Here are some tips to do so!
1 – Security Training For All Staff
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is that the entirety of your staff has adequate security training before they begin their work. No matter how fool proof or advanced your security system may be, simple human error and careless oversights can easily lead to potential data breaches. The major Sony data breach from recent memory began thanks to employees falling for simple password phishing scams. Worms like the infamous Stuxnet have also worked their way through corporate systems thanks to one person using a flash drive with unaccounted origins. Having even one employee without proper security training is bound to be the weak link that leads to later compromise.
2 – Limit Executable File Access
Self-extracting files obtained through e-mails or even internet pop ups are one of the most common sources of network threats. It’s best to make sure only certain staff members have the ability to run .exe files on any computers attached to the network. For instance, your IT team obviously needs access, but it might not be as necessary for someone in the likes of customer relations or accounting.
3 – Make Sure All Programs Are Updated
Exploits are often found in programs that can easily give unwanted parties access to your business’ information. A lot of nasty embedded threats often lurk undetected in the likes of PDF or Microsoft Office documents. Work is done to continually keep programs up to date and free from any exploits, so it’s up to you to make sure all of your networked computers are fully updated to keep any old exploits at bay.
4 – Take Stock of Every Data Entry Point
Data can get into your network from a lot of different sources, includes e-mails, FTP servers, and personal storage devices. It goes on and on. You need to take stock of all existing entry points for data so that you can make sure they’re all secure. You should have a system in place that scans all e-mails coming in and going out for viruses and other bugs if nothing else. Secure transfer of files is absolutely obligatory.
5 – Keep Sensitive Data Separate
If you have especially sensitive or restricted data, it needs to be kept in a different location from your other data. Something like the aforementioned Sony data breach could have easily been avoided if their most sensitive information had been better segregated. The likes of e-mails and important media files can easily be kept apart, protecting one if the other happens to become compromised.
6 – Ample Testing
You need to run routine testing of your security, both from internal and external sources. It’s for the best if you can have your own IT staff run the external tests. Even the internal testing can point out any glaring vulnerabilities that need to be patched up however.
7 – Your Systems Should Be Confidential
No matter how proud you are of the work of your IT staff in creating a solid network or security infrastructure, you need to make sure any related information is kept confidential. Any information about what sort of systems you have in place could easily lead to attempts from outsiders to access your data. This piece by Barclay Simpson on what recent hacks mean for the industry is well worth a read.
8 – Employ Multi Layered Defense
Layer your security so that different tiers of data have their own protection in place. If someone figures out how to get into one door, it’s important that they inevitably run into another. It’s the same reason you should make sure all of your personal online accounts have different passwords. If every keyhole in your kingdom matches just one key, you’re opening yourself up to attack far too easily.