Sensitive data in particular has grown in value over the past 10 years as digitization efforts have spread across industries, catching the attention of both hackers and policymakers. Businesses that gather consumer and employee personal information have grown to be appealing targets for cyberattacks, and numerous new data protection measures frequently target these businesses due to the money they generate.
Companies have started to invest substantially in data protection strategies in response to the twin concerns of compliance and data protection, but frequently do so out of fear of external threats. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report released by the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security, even though these account for almost half of all data breaches, 49% of them are the result of system failure and human mistakes.
Employee carelessness can easily jeopardize data security: an email sent to the incorrect address, a USB stick left unattended in a public area, or files that are too large to transmit as an email attachment but are transferred by third-party services that follow security procedures. scarce. What steps can businesses take to protect their data from internal as well as external threats? Here are some advice from us.
Implement strong access controls
Implementing strict access restrictions is one of the first measures in protecting data privacy. Access levels that are appropriate for employees reduce the possibility of unauthorized usage or disclosure. Employers can guarantee that staff members can only access the information they need to carry out their particular job duties by enforcing the concept of least privilege. Companies should routinely examine access privileges and swiftly revoke any unused access.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) implementation boosts security. MFA requires users to submit multiple pieces of identification proof, such as a password and a one-time verification code, to prove their identity. As a result, there is a substantially lower chance of illegal access in the event that credentials are stolen or compromised.
2. Encrypt sensitive data
Data encryption is an essential measure for preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information. Data that has been encrypted is transformed into an unreadable format, making it impossible for anybody else to access it without the decryption key, even if it is intercepted. Strong encryption techniques should be used for both data at rest and data in transit to add an additional layer of security.
Full-disk encryption on company devices, encryption for data saved in databases, and encryption for data transported over networks should all be part of a corporation’s encryption strategy. In order to prevent illegal decryption, encryption keys should be securely handled and stored separately from the encrypted data.
3. Regularly update security measures
Staying ahead of potential data breaches requires maintaining current security measures. Cybercriminals can enter computers illegally by taking advantage of software flaws. To guarantee that the most recent security patches are in place, it is essential to periodically upgrade software, operating systems, and apps.
Companies should also set up a strong patch management strategy that prioritizes key updates, tests patches before distribution, and addresses vulnerabilities as soon as they are found. Regular security audits and penetration tests can assist find areas where the organization’s security posture needs to be strengthened.
4. Educate employees on data privacy
Employees are essential to an organization’s ability to protect customer data. To inform employees on best practices, potential hazards, and their responsibilities in handling sensitive information, businesses should engage in thorough data privacy training programs. Topics like spotting phishing attempts, making secure passwords, and spotting social engineering tricks ought to be included in this training.
It is crucial to promote a culture of data privacy and security awareness. Employees can be encouraged to follow appropriate data privacy policies by receiving regular updates and reminders via newsletters, intranet articles, or interactive training sessions. All staff employees should be effectively informed of the precise policies and procedures governing data management, as well as the tight guidelines for reporting any suspected data breaches.
5. Conduct regular data privacy audits
For the purpose of finding any potential vulnerabilities or non-compliance issues within a business, routine data privacy audits are essential. These audits evaluate the performance of current data protection measures and pinpoint opportunities for development. Employing impartial auditors with expertise in data privacy and security, businesses should undertake both internal and external audits.
In order to ensure compliance with pertinent data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), businesses should assess their data management processes, policies, and procedures during these audits. The effectiveness of technical controls, employee compliance with data privacy regulations, and the organization’s overall security posture should all be evaluated during audits.
6. Use antivirus
Antivirus software is essential for maintaining data privacy in businesses. It serves as a strong barrier against viruses, malware, and other harmful applications that can jeopardize private data. Businesses can identify and stop cyber threats by using reliable antivirus solutions across all company devices, lowering the chance of data breaches.
The integrity and confidentiality of firm data are ensured by routine antivirus software updates and scheduled scans, which assist in discovering and removing any potential security threats. Antivirus software can also offer real-time security by blocking dubious websites and potentially malicious email attachments. Businesses can strengthen their defenses and improve data protection safeguards by integrating antivirus software into their cybersecurity plan.
Protecting data privacy is a fundamental responsibility for companies in the digital age. By implementing strong access controls, encrypting sensitive data, regularly updating security measures, educating employees, and conducting regular data privacy audits, organizations can significantly enhance their ability to safeguard sensitive information.
Prioritizing data privacy not only protects customers’ trust but also helps businesses avoid costly data breaches and potential legal consequences. Although this is quite concerning, technology has advanced significantly to combat it, and the suggestions made in the previous section are among the greatest ways to ensure that you reduce the likelihood that you will experience a cyberattack.