A company is only as strong as its data security. One leak can ruin a company’s product, services, reputation, and more.
Read on to learn the best ways to protect your company from cyber-attacks and other data security concerns.
The core elements of data security
The core elements of data security are known as the CIA Triad: confidentiality, integrity and availability. When analyzing a security risk, it’s important to keep one or more of these core principles in mind.
Confidentiality measures how protected data is from unauthorized access. Most information a company has carries a level of confidentiality, such as product features that have yet to be released or the company’s pending patents.
Confidential data is the highest risk for external attacks. Not only can companies lose income if their confidential data is leaked, but also face legal charges.
For example, if a hacker leaked client data such as personal phone numbers and addresses, a company could be sued or required to compensate their clients. Not to mention, the leak would seriously tarnish the company’s reputation.
Integrity means the information or data is not easily altered. This value affects how accurate and complete the data is.
Consider a game of telephone: one person whispers a phrase to the person beside them. Ten players later, with each player whispering the phrase to their neighbor, the phrase gets distorted by the time it reaches the last player.
Now, imagine if the game was played with a piece of paper. By the time the paper has been passed around the circle, it holds the same message as when it started. In this case, the paper has more integrity than a word of a mouth.
Data that has high integrity cannot be altered by just any employee and is difficult for hackers or external forces to change.
Data needs to be available to authorized users, yet inaccessible to unauthorized users.
Let’s look at a website. The content needs to be available to the public. However, the background configurations and servers only need to be accessible to employees authorized to edit the site.
Let’s look at the next level. Those authorized to edit the website might have “Editor” privileges, but not “Admin” privileges. This is another factor that affects the availability of the website data, authorizing employees to access no more than what they need to.
Data security practices
Educate Your Employees on Data Security Best Practices
Educate your employees. Something as simple as a phishing scam can cause a data leak. Develop or out-source training programs for your employees to participate in. Make sure these training programs are recurring, so the information is fresh in your employee’s minds and up to date with the times.
Encryption, Encryption, Encryption
As a company grows, it attracts more and more cyber attacks. Investing in resources that encrypt data can help your company carry on to a bright future.
Hackers are old hands with old security. Meaning: keep your data security technology and software up to date!
Decades ago, we felt pretty safe with antivirus and firewall software. However, those tools are just bandaids on a wound. When bacteria get past the bandaid, our bodies need helper T cells to combat the infection.
The same goes for data security technology. Keeping your data encrypted and up to date with the latest security technology and software can help maximize your company’s defenses against external attacks.
Plan for mobile devices
Once, mobile devices were seen as a security risk. Now, employees who don’t have them are a security risk. More and more companies are integrating two-factor authentication into their systems. Meaning any employee without a smartphone and therefore two-factor security is a safety hazard.
Aside from using a mobile device for two-factor authentication, implementing strict password rules can also protect your company.
Employees should change their password regularly: every three months, for example. The password should also include a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, along with symbols, and numbers. Passwords should also have a minimum length.
Keep in mind, the more strict your policies are, the more likely it is your employees will cut corners. If passwords are changed too regularly or are too long, some employees will start writing them down in hackable or discoverable locations. They may also start using predictable sequences like “1234” or “Abcd.”
Regularly backup all data
One of the most common problems that affect company data is actually internal: system malfunctions. Don’t forget to cover the cracks in your defenses by backing up important data in secure, encrypted locations.
Secure your Wi-Fi networks
How do you outthink a hacker? You hire someone who can. Securing your Wi-Fi networks takes specialized cyber skills. Take the proper precautions by investing in a professional to secure your Wi-Fi networks.
The strongest, all-encompassing takeaway for you is: invest properly in data security. Whether you’re investing time, resources, or money, it’s all worth it. A company can’t grow if it gets stunted by data loss or leakage. If you’re interested in how Joan secures client’s data, you can read more about it here.