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Essential Tips For Protecting Your Business Data

Essential Tips For Protecting Your Business Data

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:

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    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.

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    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.

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      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)
        • Numbers

        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.

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        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.

        Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pexels.com

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        Last Updated on September 30, 2020

        Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

        Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity?

        When it comes to being effective vs efficient, there are a lot of similarities, and because of this, they’re often misused and misinterpreted, both in daily use and application.

        Every business should look for new ways to improve employee effectiveness and efficiency to save time and energy in the long term. Just because a company or employee has one, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the other is equally present.

        Utilizing both an effective and efficient methodology in nearly any capacity of work and life will yield high levels of productivity, while a lack of it will lead to a lack of positive results.

        Before we discuss the various nuances between the word effective and efficient and how they factor into productivity, let’s break things down with a definition of their terms.

        Effective vs Efficient

        Effective is defined as “producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect.” Meanwhile, the word “efficient ” is defined as “capable of producing desired results with little or no waste (as of time or materials).”[1]

        A rather simple way of explaining the differences between the two would be to consider a light bulb. Say that your porch light burned out and you decided that you wanted to replace the incandescent light bulb outside with an LED one. Either light bulb would be effective in accomplishing the goal of providing you with light at night, but the LED one would use less energy and therefore be the more efficient choice.

        Now, if you incorrectly set a timer for the light, and it was turned on throughout the entire day, then you would be wasting energy. While the bulb is still performing the task of creating light in an efficient manner, it’s on during the wrong time of day and therefore not effective.

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        The effective way is focused on accomplishing the goal, while the efficient method is focused on the best way of accomplishing the goal.

        Whether we’re talking about a method, employee, or business, the subject in question can be either effective or efficient, or, in rare instances, they can be both.

        When it comes to effective vs efficient, the goal of achieving maximum productivity is going to be a combination where the subject is effective and as efficient as possible in doing so.

        Effectiveness in Success and Productivity

        Being effective vs efficient is all about doing something that brings about the desired intent or effect[2]. If a pest control company is hired to rid a building’s infestation, and they employ “method A” and successfully completed the job, they’ve been effective at achieving the task.

        The task was performed correctly, to the extent that the pest control company did what they were hired to do. As for how efficient “method A” was in completing the task, that’s another story.

        If the pest control company took longer than expected to complete the job and used more resources than needed, then their efficiency in completing the task wasn’t particularly good. The client may feel that even though the job was completed, the value in the service wasn’t up to par.

        When assessing the effectiveness of any business strategy, it’s wise to ask certain questions before moving forward:

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        • Has a target solution to the problem been identified?
        • What is the ideal response time for achieving the goal?
        • Does the cost balance out with the benefit?

        Looking at these questions, a leader should ask to what extent a method, tool, or resource meets the above criteria and achieve the desired effect. If the subject in question doesn’t hit any of these marks, then productivity will likely suffer.

        Efficiency in Success and Productivity

        Efficiency is going to account for the resources and materials used in relation to the value of achieving the desired effect. Money, people, inventory, and (perhaps most importantly) time, all factor into the equation.

        When it comes to being effective vs efficient, efficiency can be measured in numerous ways[3]. In general, the business that uses fewer materials or that is able to save time is going to be more efficient and have an advantage over the competition. This is assuming that they’re also effective, of course.

        Consider a sales team for example. Let’s say that a company’s sales team is tasked with making 100 calls a week and that the members of that team are hitting their goal each week without any struggle.

        The members on the sales team are effective in hitting their goal. However, the question of efficiency comes into play when management looks at how many of those calls turn into solid connections and closed deals.

        If less than 10 percent of those calls generate a connection, the productivity is relatively low because the efficiency is not adequately balancing out with the effect. Management can either keep the same strategy or take a new approach.

        Perhaps they break up their sales team with certain members handling different parts of the sales process, or they explore a better way of connecting with their customers through a communications company.

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        The goal is ultimately going to be finding the right balance, where they’re being efficient with the resources they have to maximize their sales goals without stretching themselves too thin. Finding this balance is often easier said than done, but it’s incredibly important for any business that is going to thrive.

        Combining Efficiency and Effectiveness to Maximize Productivity

        Being effective vs efficient works best if both are pulled together for the best results.

        If a business is ineffective in accomplishing its overall goal, and the customer doesn’t feel that the service is equated with the cost, then efficiency becomes largely irrelevant. The business may be speedy and use minimal resources, but they struggle to be effective. This may put them at risk of going under.

        It’s for this reason that it’s best to shoot for being effective first, and then work on bringing efficiency into practice.

        Improving productivity starts with taking the initiative to look at how effective a company, employee, or method is through performance reviews. Leaders should make a point to regularly examine performance at all levels on a whole, and take into account the results that are being generated.

        Businesses and employees often succumb to inefficiency because they don’t look for a better way, or they lack the proper tools to be effective in the most efficient manner possible.

        Similar to improving a manager or employee’s level of effectiveness, regularly measuring the resources needed to obtain the desired effect will ensure that efficiency is being accounted for. This involves everything from keeping track of inventory and expenses, to how communication is handled within an organization.

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        By putting in place a baseline value for key metrics and checking them once changes have been made, a company will have a much better idea of the results they’re generating.

        It’s no doubt a step-by-step process. By making concentrated efforts, weakness can be identified and rectified sooner rather than later when the damage is already done.

        Bottom Line

        Understanding the differences between being effective vs efficient is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. It’s simply working smart so that the intended results are achieved in the best way possible. Finding the optimal balance should be the ultimate goal for employees and businesses:

        • Take the steps that result in meeting the solution.
        • Review the process and figure out how to do it better.
        • Repeat the process with what has been learned in a more efficient manner.

        And just like that, effective and efficient productivity is maximized.

        More on How to Improve Productivity

        Featured photo credit: Tim van der Kuip via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Merriam-Webster: effective and efficient
        [2] Mind Tools: Being Effective at Work
        [3] Inc.: 8 Things Really Efficient People Do

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