Big Data

What Should A Company Do To Protect Data?

While the data protection principles provide a good framework, there should be more than what you should have in place. Every company should have a watertight data protection strategy in an emergency to protect data.

Understand what data is sensitive

Typically, data relating to legal entities and businesses do not feature in data protection acts because they do not concern individuals. Instead, various categories of personal data are considered sensitive, and it is these sensitive data that you should be protecting.

Perform a data protection impact assessment to determine the necessary data you need, its sensitivity, and where the company will store it. Data protection laws require an impact assessment in many instances, including after a data breach or when a company is gathering sensitive information, such as biometric data. 

Put together an inventory of your data types, noting who can access it, the sensitivity level, and the age and volume details.

Develop a data protection policy

Next, you can start to compile a data protection policy. It should always comply with the data protection laws of the location(s) where you operate, but it may also consider other things. 

GDPR compliance, for example, is unnecessary for US-based businesses, but many companies find it helpful. Go through the seven principles above and incorporate them into your data privacy policy.

You should also outline data recovery principles, such as frequently replicating data so there is a backup in case of accidental loss. Policies should also cover disaster recovery, which a company may require in case of cyberattacks, equipment failures, or natural disasters.

Consider BYOD policies and physical security

Most business owners assume that cloud data is the only thing they must worry about. However, at least temporarily, plenty of internal data exists on physical devices.  

Many companies are embracing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies that reduce costs, particularly with the surge in working from home. However, this makes it doubly important to protect from physical incidents of theft and ensure that all employees know how to protect data. 

To ward against a breach, you could ensure that particular types of information can only be held on specific devices, such as company laptops. Furthermore, you could allow employees to access encrypted information solely from the cloud, prohibiting data storage on personal laptops.

There is also the issue of data portability. If employees use different clouds and software, you must ensure the data is portable and safe during transfer. 

Communicate the data security policy

Everybody in your company should know the data protection policy. They should be able to deal with sensitive information correctly without compromising data. All levels of the hierarchy must know and comply with the data protection policy.

Update and maintain the inventory

Keep all data up-to-date no matter what. If you switch technology partners or change organizational systems, everything must be ready to use the data immediately.

Plus, the database should be regularly updated with new information under the principle of accuracy.

What is the most secure way of protecting data?

Data protection usually involves multiple areas of security, ranging from indexing and storing data wisely to employing cloud tools that keep your enterprise data safe. It’s worth exploring your options to see what fits your company’s needs and budget. Here are some options to consider.

1. Storage with built-in protection

Many modern storage solutions feature built-in virus protection and can even guard your data behind firewalls. This is a low-cost option for small businesses.

2. Backups, snapshots, and replications

Backups create copies of data and store them elsewhere, which can protect against data loss and accidental damage.

Meanwhile, replications copy protected data to another location constantly. As a result, the copy is live and up-to-date, which is perfect when you need to replace data rapidly.

Snapshots are similar but copy a complete system image, including files and data. These are useful for replacing data up to a certain point in time.

3. Firewalls and authentication

Firewalls are a simple protection solution that comes built-in with many storage options and software. In addition, they allow you to monitor who accesses data, ensuring that only authorized individuals can gain entry.

Many authentication solutions help you verify user credentials. As cyber-security increases, many systems also require multi-factor authentication that adds double the protection.

4. Encryption

Encrypting data protects it because it alters the content. The encryption can only be reversed with the correct encryption key. 

Encryption is a crucial step in modern data protection. Even if hackers access the database, the impacted individuals remain protected because the data is unreadable. Of course, there are ways around encryption, but when it comes to data protection, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. Endpoint protection

Endpoint protection focuses on the gateways to the network, including connected devices, routers, and ports. You can utilize endpoint protection software to ensure this area of your network is safe. 

6. Data erasure

In compliance with data privacy law, you should remove data when you no longer need it. Not only is this compliant, but it also limits any liability you may incur when disaster strikes. 

Summing up

Businesses can and should take steps to keep personal data safe. You can protect your data in several ways, and a holistic approach to data management and processing is the best way to keep personal information safe

Data protection begins when you start processing personal data, so it’s never too early to draft a security policy. Of course, your business’s policy needs to prioritize secure data above all else, but it also must account for the laws and regulations of the regions where you operate. 

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