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Technology 284 views Jul 03, 2018
5 Steps to Take to Ensure Your Company's Data is Safe

Between 2016 and 2017, the number of recorded data breaches in the United States rose by nearly 70%. That trend is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future. Businesses, now more than ever, must take steps to ensure that the data of their customers is secure from every possible threat. That means data leaks, ransomware, physical theft, and more. The following five steps are things any business can do to maintain a respectable level of data security.

Evaluate the Tools You're Using

Not all tools are created equal. Some “free” versions offered as alternatives of popular software are full of things that could or are meant to sabotage your security. That doesn't mean you can't use open source software but if you choose to do so, make it a priority to keep up with its development and an eye out for reports of any newly found or exploited vulnerabilities.

Proprietary software, on the other hand, may not be safer outright, but it does take less time to maintain. In either case, make sure that whatever digital tools you use are backed by a reputable company or organization, for-profit or not-for-profit. Always ask what history they have, what support they offer, and what their update schedule looks like.

Evaluate Who Has Access to Your Data

As hard as it may be to believe, according to IBM's Cyber Security Intelligence Index 2016, 60% of all attacks on business data were carried out by or with the help of insiders. These insiders are often employees. However, many of them may not have been aware of how they assisted in a given breach or attack. People don't always leak data on purpose.

Cybercriminals will try to trick you and your employees in search of sensitive data or a vulnerability. They will steal an employees identity or forge a fake one. Keeping track of who knows what, having specific ways to identify employees, and training people to spot information gathering attempts is key to preventing everyday employees from accidentally giving a criminal access to sensitive business data.

Set Up Offsite Backups

One of the most straightforward steps any business owner can take to ensure that their data remains safe from any disaster to is to automate data backup and recovery. While the right recovery system for any given business will vary, there are a few things the best systems have in common.

Automatic Backups and Restoration Points – One of the main benefits of a professional solution is ease of use. If you still have to sign off and sit through every backup yourself, or a team member does, you could do better.

Scalability – The solution you use should be capable of growing as your business does and the pricing should scale to match.

Onsite and Offsite Cloud Options – Some businesses prefer to have their "cloud" onsite and under their guard while still being managed by a professional data storage company. Others prefer the whole operation offsite.

 Full-Service Support and Assistance – Any reputable backup company should be available to talk you through the recovery process and be available anytime you need support.

Make Sure All of Your Digital Tools Are Up-to-Date

Security vulnerabilities are found all the time. That's what patches are for- to seal them up and help keep your company's data safe. You must regularly patch all of your tools and applications, no matter how infrequently they are used--especially if they are linked to a more extensive system of devices.

These patches may be applied automatically if the option exists for a given tool and is enabled. Both of these things are key. Many businesses gloss over patching unaware that doing so means there are known exploitation in their system.

Have a System in Place for Reporting Suspicious Activity and Resolving It

If, for instance, one employee gets an email on Monday that's phishing for information, and they send it to their spam folder, that may seem like things have taken care of themselves. However, another employee may receive a similar yet slightly different email on Wednesday and respond to it or download something from it. This could endanger your company's data.

If there had been a secure reporting system in place, this might have been prevented. The email from Monday could have been added to a blacklist and instructions could have been sent to other employees alerting them to the attempt and giving them steps to follow in case someone attempted to contact them in a similar manner. The same system could apply to phone calls or digital tools "acting up."

A system should be in place to deal with threats like these and offer people within the company to use their better judgment to keep the company safe. This process can also help with the further development of in-house security protocols.

Tags: #Data is Safe