You know data security is important. Each year, thousands of businesses are hit by a data breach that compromises personal information and/or costs the business a fortune to repair. Maintaining data security is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.
If you’ve spent any length of time looking into data security, you know security experts don’t work for free. The good news is you don’t have to hire a private IT security pro to lock down your data.
Securing your data doesn’t need to be expensive. Here’s how you can do it without spending a fortune.
If you’re going to secure your digital data on premises, you need to take stock of your networking assets. What networking assets do you have? Make a list of everything, including your routers, network switches, firewalls, company laptops, company desktops, and anything else connected to your network. You can’t protect what you don’t know about.
Map out not just the items, but their locations as well. Draw a diagram of your server room if you have one, and make a list of who has been issued laptops and other devices.
After you have a list of your physical devices, document details pertaining to each device. For example, document the operating system, critical applications, device name, and anything else that might be important.
You’ll need all of this information handy if you experience a problem; it will help your IT team troubleshoot any issues that arise.
You never want to be caught up in the middle of a data breach that could have been prevented by your service provider. Since you can’t control what happens on their end, there are several steps you can take to limit the potential for problems.
- Create strict and clear IT security policies and procedures. When you have predefined security policies and procedures in place, you can get everyone in your company on board with your standards. For example, say you have a policy that prohibits employees from using personal devices for booking cheap flights to Iceland for work.
To make sure this policy is followed, you can log all device MAC addresses that log into the company server and verify that all of them are company devices. You can even get automated software to only allow access from registered devices.
- Enforce your security policies. This has to be said. Always enforce your security policies across the board. Don’t let anyone slide because it will set the precedent for others to think it’s okay to break the rules.
- Select cloud providers that take security seriously. Statistics show that 61% of businesses moved to the cloud in 2020. Cloud services are popular, but are they secure? Yes and no. The answer depends on the service provider’s commitment to security.
Not all cloud service providers take your data security seriously. You may have noticed that many past data breaches involved unencrypted data, and that’s a sign that the provider didn’t go far enough to keep that data secure.
At this point, all cloud providers should be encrypting customer data while it’s on their server. Try to only do business with companies that use encryption. That way, if your data is stolen, it can’t be read by the hackers without a herculean effort.
A good cloud provider will be on top of security updates, patches, and they’ll be using state-of-the-art AI-powered software to identify, isolate, and deal with threats. They’ll also offer backups as an additional service just to make sure you don’t lose your data. However, make your own backups as a precaution.
You may not be able to escape getting caught in a data breach at some point, but a mitigation plan will help you avoid the breaches that can be avoided.
One of the biggest risks to your data security is a personal device. It might be convenient for workers to use their personal laptops and smartphones for work, but the risk is huge.
Other people might access their devices, their devices might get stolen, and they could sabotage your data at any time. To prevent these common scenarios, require employees to use company-issued devices and don’t let them take those devices home.
Even the best software security suites can’t protect against threats if you drop the ball. Securing your data begins with your security strategy – and making sure it’s enforced.