How to Protect Your Sensitive Business Data

How to Protect Your Sensitive Business Data

Guest post from our friends at Omnistar Interactive.

Businesses are increasingly allowing content sharing in their organizations. But with constant security issues posing a threat to the safety of their data, companies need to implement procedures that ensure the sensitive information they hold remains within their organization.

Fundamental tips to protect your sensitive business data

The following are some of the basic steps and procedures that industry professionals recommend that companies strictly implement in their organization to avoid data breach.

  1. Look at the usage of your business data.
    • Examine who has access to your confidential and sensitive business data. Find out who has frequent access to the information and who infrequently accesses them.
    • Check the frequency involved in using or changing the information. For example, your customer database may be used by too many people in your organization.
    • Determine how your business data is being transferred or shared. There are various ways that employees use to transfer or share data: email, online streaming, or through USB storage devices.
  1. Create a comprehensive list of all data stored in your company.
    • Know where each type of data is kept, who has access to it, and how often it is accessed.
    • Using this list, find out how the handling of the data can cause risks.
    • To be safe, minimize access to the data to just a few of your staff or employees.
  1. Streamline manual recordkeeping.
    • Arrange and store all paperwork and documents according to month.
    • Record all transactions and payment amounts. Keep all online financial transactions by month and financial year in approved storage locations.
    • Avoid paperwork when possible and instead use a secure virtual recordkeeping system that only a few employees constantly access.
  1. Store data efficiently.
    • Use a central server to store critical data. Storing data on a single location minimizes theft.
    • To improve security on a single point of storage, mirror the data elsewhere using techniques provided by a reliable IT provider.
    • Limit access to the data to a few trusted employees. Implement a secure way for these employees to access the data.
  1. Back up the data.
    • Install an effective backup procedure to ensure that you can retrieve your data when issues arise.
    • Use backup software to schedule and maintain automatic backups.
    • Take backups on a regular basis. To use less storage space and to make the process quicker, back up only the information that has been changed.
    • Store the backup away from the main copy of the information.
    • Keep backups secure as well. Encrypt the data and store in secure devices.
    • Consistently check the security level of the backup service provider by regularly testing it. Be sure you know how to recover the data in it.
    • Back up your data to a removable unit, such as a portable hard drive, CD-ROM, a DVD. You can also use an online backup service to back up data over the Internet.
    • Assign a dependable person in your company to secure backups and to perform the backup procedures on schedule. He or she should report to you regularly.
  1. Provide better data protection.
    • Install and update security software regularly to protect from threats and vulnerability. Set it up so that updates are enforced automatically.
    • Use security software that prevents unauthorized use of USB storage devices.
    • Encrypt all confidential data and prevent easy access of sensitive information.
    • Use electronic signatures or watermarking to monitor authorship and data file changes.
    • Implement secure password usage to inhibit hackers from accessing your data.
    • If the data is connected to the Internet, install software and hardware firewalls to keep hackers out.
    • Install a remote wipe facility and promptly use it in instances when devices containing sensitive data are lost or misplaced.
    • Provide a tight security system at the application level and likewise at the data level.
  1. Comply with regulations.
    • Ensure compliance with local legislative requirements. Evaluate your security strategy and make sure it complies with regulations.
    • Establish a clear and quick action plan that your employees will follow if a data breach occurs. Fast action can have a huge difference in terms of business reputation and legal consequences.
  1. Make employees understand the need to protect confidential business data.
    • Explain to the employees the value of keeping business data secure and encourage them to safeguard information rather than keep them uninformed.
    • Establish guidelines that your employees will follow regarding handling and sharing of business data. Make the policies available through the company’s intranet.
    • Hold periodic practical workshops and meetings to reiterate the magnitude of keeping confidential data safe. Educate them on the essentials of data protection law.

Data security and ease-of-use

At times, security becomes an issue when it gets in the way of productivity. With this, it is important for any business entity that intends to allow employees the use of devices to access and share business data to ensure that everything is secure. But to keep employees from being weighed down by the maze of security involved to the point that they are unable to render their work well, consider using cloud backup services.

Cloud computing and applications

Cloud computing enables businesses to manage computing resources and business records over the Internet. These services can be set up to automate the process. A lot of companies these days make use of cloud computing to help manage their business requirements. Many cloud service providers have extremely skilled security professionals. They are continually evaluated by users and customers, are required to comply with security regulations and are driven to ensure security success.

Data access and backups can be done through systems such as Evernote or cloudHQ. cloudHQ is a cloud-syncing system that enables cloud-based applications to communicate with each other and provide real-time backup. Basically, cloudHQ works by replicating data as soon as it is changed. It can be synchronized with applications like Evernote and web-based email client Gmail.

In this setup, all important documents received through Gmail are instantly saved to Dropbox, a file-syncing program. Dropbox is used by many businesses to sync files across computers and the cloud, access data from different devices, share files, promote transparency by using the program like a server, as well as for business deployment and management with centralized administration and more.

Evernote is a suite of software and services created for taking notes and archiving. It can be synced to an application like Google Drive to constantly back up files being created. Data in Evernote is stored both locally and in the cloud. It can also encrypt sensitive data within a note. Plus, information stored in Evernote can be exported in different formats, and taken where necessary.

Even with the many benefits that cloud computing and applications provide to businesses, it is vital that business organizations evaluate cloud computing services and utilize sophisticated technology, especially where it concerns the safety of their data and information. Doing so can save them the negative repercussions associated with services that are less than stable and secure.

Finding the ideal data protection service

When deciding to use a third-party service provider to provide protection for business data, companies must make sure that the service does not just make it possible to achieve better data protection but improved productivity gains that do not compromise security. Each layer must require distinct authentication tokens that reinforce security. Ideally, the data protection service must provide multiple layers of security and more influence over where the data will be shared as well as more protection from malicious threats and intrusions.
When adequate security measures are carried out, hacking and any malicious intent that puts your business data in high risk can be prevented. With a well-designed and well-implemented data protection system and guidelines for your business organization, you can look forward to safer handling and sharing of confidential business information. Plus, you allow your employees the liberty to achieve increased productivity whether they are in the office or working outside the business premises.

When it comes to critical business applications, businesses should not merely focus on tight security that protects enterprise data at every stage. On top of providing reliable data protection, companies must make ease of use a top priority. This is to avoid inefficiency and lower productivity that can significantly affect the business operation. It is vital to remember that security and functionality should go together. Without the other, businesses may not be able to stay around longer to reap the benefits of their corporate endeavor.

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