Large corporations have invested time and resources in hiring the best professionals available in the IT area to provide their knowledge in data protection. But what is the big deal with securing our digital information that it has become an entire business on its own?
An old saying goes, time is money. These days, we should rephrase it along the lines of information is money. No one could ever doubt how valuable data acquisition is today and how important it is to create your data bank of reliable sources, from ultra-competitive brands like Apple or Samsung, to whom suffering an information leak would translate in the loss of thousands or millions of dollars out on patent royalties, to small businesses that can’t risk their investments.
1. Identify the sources of threat
By saying business data, we don’t only refer to written information that came out of the investigation, but also to financial data, human resources data and so on.
Potential threats to your business are labeled as:
1. Unintended disclosure: Also commonly known as “leaks.” This is prone to happen when non-disclosure terms are not adequately established, and people start sharing semi-confidential content through social media (most commonly Facebook, but can be by fax, mail, letters or phone calls).
2. Hacking and Malware: From DoS attacks to wiping out your data, hackers can do an unprecedented amount of damage depending on their intent. Cyber-kidnapping is one of the latest trends on this behalf, where hackers encrypt your hard drive and demand a certain (high) amount of money to decrypt it – otherwise, you will end up losing your data.
Corporations geared towards software testing and development, banks, manufacturers and health-related companies are the primary targets of hackers.
3. Lost/Stolen Mobile Devices: Tablets, phones, flash drives, CDs, laptops and such, which contain sensitive information about your company.
4. Intended disclosure: Also can be labeled as “spies.” People who, after securing a deal with your competitors, leak vital data from your business to them.
2. Set hierarchy for accessing data
Not every employee, especially newcomers to your organization, should have access to sensitive data. That’s the first step towards a secure organization regarding its IT policies.
Full-access or master login to your servers should be highly restricted, even for your IT managers, as you never know when your data can get leaked and who’s to blame in those circumstances.
3. Data encryption: A must-have
Another choice to make is to acquire data encryption software for your servers, computers and laptops alike. This decision has two aspects to consider:
1. Does your company have a potential risk of hacker’s attacks?: The answer to this question depends on the amount of staff you have, the way your business ranks in both local and international market, and the area where you happen to work. A creative artist won’t suffer the same level of harassment as banks or law firms, for example.
2. Do you require portability? For some brands, traveling is as important as the air they breathe, so having your laptops encrypted is a must. Why? Because, depending on your software, you can make it nearly impossible to decrypt data without the user’s password. This is crucial to enact as a countermeasure against stealing sensitive information.
4. Stronger passwords for the most reliable protection
Passwords are under constant attacks from hackers, who would try every possible way to crack it.That’s the reason for setting stronger passwords at your workplace.
Make it a requirement for your staff to set passwords with more than eight characters, including the following items:
- Up and lowercase letters
- Special characters like _ # ! or / (better if done twice through the password)
Don’t use the same password for all sensitive data if you are at the top of the hierarchy. Passwords should be changed quarterly to ensure extra protection.
5. Keep your software up-to-date
Regardless of the operating system you use, keeping your software in line with the latest updates is an easy yet effective way of protecting your business data, since malware evolves constantly, and these updates ensure that potential security vulnerabilities get patched up.
6. Secure access to your network
As a countermeasure to prevent outsiders from accessing your network, you should set your WiFi SSID hidden and encrypted, so no one can use your Internet connection unless you allow them to do it. Large companies use their VPNs to provide secure access, even when working remotely.
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