In today’s digital economy an increasing volume of information is collected and data is turning not only into a more valuable, but also into a more vulnerable resource. For businesses it has become a key input for growth, differentiation and for maintaining competitiveness. With data’s expanding importance, information security is evolving into a critical aspect for organizations, as the risk of sensitive data being breached – due to intended or unintended incidents – increases at an alarming pace.
As security breaches make new headlines every week, companies must ensure that sensitive data is adequately protected in order to prevent loss or theft. The security measures include the policies they have in place to protect it, as well as the strategies and tools at their disposal for breach mitigation.
Protection of sensitive data is required not only for legal or ethical reasons, but for issues related to personal privacy, as well as for safeguarding the reputation of the business. Sensitive data includes personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, credit card numbers, email addresses or phone numbers of customers and employees, as well as intellectual property and trade secrets, industry-specific data and information related to operations and inventory.Let’s see what practices businesses can apply in 2019 to prepare themselves appropriately against a data breach:
Provide Training on Security Awareness
An efficient training is a critical component and means ensuring that the employees are informed about the importance of data security, have the know-how to detect threats and avoid leakages, and are empowered to report potential privacy incidents. For a better cyber protection, access to sensitive information should be limited on a “need to know” basis and it is important to include real-life examples of reportable incidents into employee training. They must also be aware of their responsibilities and accountabilities when using a computer on a business network. Security policies should be regularly updated as threats are continuously changing and cybercriminals are becoming savvier.
Invest in the Right Security Technology
Cyber security measures are needed in every business industry as sensitive information must be protected wherever it is stored, sent or used. While it is important to have traditional perimeter and network security like firewalls, intrusion detection, and antivirus systems, businesses should consider a layered approach which includes not only protection against security threats, but also identifying and monitoring security risks as well as responding to safety threats and incidents.
Comply with Data Protection Regulations
Each data protection regulation is an indication that companies are accountable for how they manage data privacy and people’s data. When organizations prioritize content protection to meet data protection regulations, they have a better chance not only of preventing data leakage, but avoiding fines and reputational issues as well. The best way to ensure compliance is by creating a data security policy that keeps data safe from risks both inside and outside of the company.
2018 was an important year in terms consumer privacy laws and rigorous regulations are becoming more prevalent on a global scale.
Perform regular vulnerability assessments
Vulnerability assessment is the process intended to identify, classify and prioritize security threats as well as determine the risks they pose to organizations. Regular security audits reveal a clear picture about data and act as a checklist to work towards data protection. When performing a vulnerability assessment, businesses should consider all aspects like data storage, remote access for employees, BYOD strategy and ensure that policies and procedures are adequate.
Detecting vulnerabilities on a regular basis and prioritizing their remediation is also important in order to provide the level of data protection required by different regulations.
As technology continues to drive businesses, it also continues to make them vulnerable to cybercrime. In order to reduce the risk of enriching the ever-growing list of breach victims, cyber security should become a priority for every organization.