If data truly is the new oil, you don’t want to give bad actors the key to the refinery. Your data is a highly valuable asset to your business, and it’s something that can be hugely costly to lose – whether in a ransomware attack or through a data breach. This article is all about how you can gain confidence, security and control over your data, ensuring that you don’t run the risk of losing it. Read on to learn the essential steps to keeping your data safe.
You can store data in a number of areas, for instance you can store it on hard drives and other memory hardware. The problem with these is that hardware is vulnerable to damage – a single point of failure that could lead you to lose your data easily. It’s also something the thieves can break in and steal. Your other option is to store your data on a server, which means that it’s far more difficult to damage in the way that a hard drive can be corrupted.
So, you should store your valuable data on servers, and perhaps use a physical hard drive that’s kept in a secure area as a backup. But storing data on a server has its own risks. Cyberattacks often target servers, as criminals rightly believe they’ll unearth valuable data there. Be careful where you choose to store your data, therefore. Find a server service you can trust to store your data on.
Many servers have their own security layer, which means that to hack the central server is nigh-on impossible. Instead, hackers try to target devices and logins in order to find a way into your server via authorized access. This means that, while there’s a cybersecurity layer on your server itself, you should always also add a layer of cybersecurity to your work devices and software, too.
Shop around for the best deal on cybersecurity. That doesn’t mean finding the cheapest option. Instead, it means finding a trusted supplier that’s able to give you security on the cloud, where many of your documents and much of your data will be stored. This will give you the best chance of escaping the attention of cybercriminals who use this as a gateway to access your data.
You should also operate strict data security policies in your firm in order to protect you and your staff from the kinds of malicious attacks that can often take place against a business. This tip is twofold. The first part of the tip is to get everyone in your firm clued up on how to protect themselves and their own devices from cyberthreats. Run a training session if necessary, so that everyone’s aware of the risks and how they can avoid them.
Meanwhile, you should develop a company-wide policy that’s designed to ensure no one has access to data in your company that doesn’t actually need to access it. For instance, it shouldn’t be the case that your finance department can have its data accessed by everyone else in the firm. That data is for senior managers’ eyes only, and it’s certainly not something you’ll want shared with cybercriminals. Operate a least privilege policy in order to better protect your most valuable data.
You’ll know that all you need to do to access your most valuable and sensitive data is to grab an internet connected device and key in a password. That means that all a cybercriminal needs to access your data is your password. As such, you’ll want to keep your password, and the passwords of your staff, as secure as possible. The best practice here is to get a random password generator so that you have a secure password that’s different from your personal accounts.
Keep your password completely private – don’t share it with anyone. That way, if your password is used to access your data (and it wasn’t you), you’ll know for sure that there has been some illegal activity. Meanwhile, you should try to keep changing your most important passwords at least twice a year. Finally, if you have the option to set up two-factor authentication, you should certainly do that with your most important passwords. That’s another layer of security a cybercriminal would have to pass through before they get to your data.
You may well have data within your company that is worthless to you but highly valuable to cybercriminals. If it’s worthless, you should delete it. Don’t wait on it as if it’s a piece of wood you’re one day hoping to fashion into an item of furniture. Just get rid of it, deleting it permanently, so that you won’t have data lying around the criminals would find valuable in the event of a hack.
Most often, this data comes in the form of customers’ data, such as names, addresses and financial details. You should be incredibly careful when you’re handling this data. If it’s stolen, you will have to go back to your customs to tell them that you may have let a criminal get away with their data. That can destroy trust and faith in your firm, having a serious impact on your bottom line.
Some of the above might read like common sense. Other tips are more technical, and something that you should bear in mind when you’re handling data that’s sensitive or valuable in the eyes of criminals. You might feel that your firm is too small to warrant the attention of cybercriminals. That might be true. But you cannot be sure, and the litany of smaller firms that have been attacked in recent years is testament to the fact that you could well be next on their list.
Use common sense at all times in order to avoid this unpleasant eventuality and to better protect your firm from the prying eyes of those who may aim to steal your data.
These tips are essential for firms that are looking to do all they can in order to protect the data that they own and store.