Data is everything for all businesses these days. Disruption or data loss can have devastating consequences, potentially leading to bankruptcy. There are several threats to your data security. The main one is human error, but we also can’t ignore the cyber threat, which has grown exponentially in recent years.
This article will cover the main points for keeping business data safe, so you can prevent your business from taking on unnecessary risks.
Educate your employees
Verizon’s 2022 Data Investigations Report found that 82% of data breaches involved a human element. This means that your security posture largely depends on the security awareness of your employees. If your employees have no idea about best practices when handling sensitive data and devices, they’re likely to make a mistake that potentially leads to a cyber incident.
It’s best to start security awareness training with the onboarding of new employees. That way, they will have a clear understanding and strong foundation of best practices. It’s much harder to fix bad habits later on. Therefore, upfront teaching prevents possibly significant mistakes from occurring.
In case your staff needs a professional education in the data science branch, where security is a part of the teaching, great online data science courses are available.
Use secure cloud storage
The place where you store your sensitive data makes a huge difference in maintaining its integrity and security. Since most organizations rely on a remote workforce, secure cloud storage for business has become the go-to option for storing and sharing data.
But, not all cloud storage services are made equal. One of the things to consider when choosing a cloud storage solution for your organization is encryption. Strong encryption is nearly impossible to break through, even for the most advanced hackers, so your organization must have this level of protection.
Back up your data regularly
Data loss is inevitable. Whether it’s an employee error, a natural disaster, or a cyber attack, there is no shortage of ways your organization can lose data. That’s why consistently backing up all the crucial data for your business is so important. In any of the previously mentioned events, having backups will save you a ton of time and money to recover.
Some best practices regarding data backups for business include:
- Having backups on external hard drives, removable media, or the cloud
- Keeping a regular backup schedule
- The 3-2-1 rule (three copies of your data – two on local devices and one off-site)
Implement data access controls
Data in use is always in danger, as an error can occur anytime. Implement strict data access rules based on user roles, where users can only access the data they need to do their job.
There are three types of access control:
- Role-based access control relies on the role structure of your organization. Users can access data based on their roles and what they need for their job. The main disadvantage is that roles frequently change, which requires an extra level of maintenance.
- Data-centric access control centers around the type of data being accessed. This requires rigorous data classification to allow a simple way to meet access requirements across users and systems.
- Context-centric access control is based on specific rules around the nature of accessing data. For example, one rule could be to block large data transfers outside regular business hours. This can prevent common threats but may leave the door open for others.
Use strong passwords and authentication
Accessing business accounts should be straightforward but not easy. As part of employee training, users should be asked to use strong passwords for their accounts and enable multi-factor authentication. Authentication apps are free and an easy way to secure accounts with an extra identity-proving factor, so there’s no reason not to use them.
For setting strong passwords, it’s best to set specific guidelines, such as:
- Password length (at least 8-12 characters)
- Using special characters (&, $, %, etc.)
- Combination of upper and lower case letters
- Using numbers
Data is the new gold, and businesses must protect it at all costs. Losing or exposing data can have major consequences for your business. It can lead to process disruption, reputation loss, and even business failure.
Human error plays a factor in most data security incidents. Employees need consistent training on best practices for handling data and protecting their accounts. Secure cloud storage providers are an excellent place to keep your critical data and create backups.