Top Tips for keeping your business’s data safe
Keeping your business’s data safe should be a core part of any company manager’s strategy, but all too often the risks of data loss are over-looked and insufficiently researched.
Losing data can breach your customer’s confidentiality and effect your company’s reputation. Perhaps it’s unsurprising then that 70% of UK companies go out of business within eighteen months of experiencing data loss. Identifying and protecting corporate data, intellectual property and customer data is essential for the privacy of both you and your customers.
In what ways could our data be lost?
Risks to watch out for:
- Keeping data on portable devices: storing data on USB sticks or mobile phones massively increases the risk of it being lost or stolen. Employees can easily mislay the information in a public place, or it could be stolen from the work place or their own home.
- Staff taking data with them or selling data: There is a risk that dishonest employees could sell data to your competitors. Sales staff could also have accepted a role at another company on the condition that they bring clients with them.
- Printing: Sensitive information being printed out means it can end up in the wrong hands more easily; lost in a pile of papers or left in a public place accidently.
- Email and website: An email sent to the wrong person or an email account being hacked could mean it is seen by the wrong people, as could an incorrect upload to a website where the information can be seen by the public.
How to protect your data:
- Risk Analysis: The first thing you need to do is carry out a risk analysis. You can’t decide which steps you need to take until you are sure of exactly how much data you have, where it is stored, how important it is and who has access to it.
- Increase security of data access: having complete control over who can access data will increase its security and if anything goes wrong you will have a clearer idea of how this happened. Set access levels to decide who can access what data, and give staff their own individual passwords.
- Staff training: Meet with your employees to explain the steps you have decided to take. This is an opportunity to introduce your new policies to them, so they are clear about the access they have to important and confidential company information and how they are expected to treat this.
- Ban portable devices: Disabling USB ports and banning the use of portable devices will remove the risk of data being lost when taken outside of the company building. If some team members do need to store the data on portable devices make sure you monitor this.
- Consider software that you might need: If you feel that these steps aren’t enough on their own for the nature of your business you might need to consider a commercial data loss prevention solution. A programme like this will be pricey, but can be used to detect and prevent unauthorized attempts to copy or send your sensitive data. This may be valuable for big businesses or those handling a lot of sensitive information.
By having a clear understanding of the data your company stores, where it is kept and taking precautions around which employees can use it and how will mean the risk of data loss will be massively reduced for your company.
Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of BTI Computers, a UK provider of server room equipment including cameras for server rooms.