Excerpt from the weekly Agilico Newsletter
In today’s digital landscape, where information is the lifeblood of every business, safeguarding your data is a top priority.
Establishing robust data protection practices is essential to keep data secure, build trust with customers, and comply with data protection regulations. Here are ten essential and straightforward best practices to protect your business against potential data threats.
Protect Your Data with Encryption
Implement strong encryption methods to safeguard sensitive data. Encryption acts as a digital shield, ensuring that even if unauthorised access occurs, the data remains unreadable without the appropriate decryption key.
Gatekeeping Your Data with Access Controls
Limit data access to authorised team members by enforcing strict access controls. Use role or permission-based access to ensure that employees can only access the data necessary for their specific roles. For example, only the HR team can access employee’s personal, sensitive data.
Incorporating a Document Management System (DMS) with audit trails can further enhance your data protection efforts. A DMS not only streamlines document organisation but also provides a comprehensive record of user actions. Audit trails track who has accessed, modified, or shared documents, providing a detailed overview of data interactions. This not only helps businesses to monitor user actions but is also invaluable for proving compliance with data protection regulations.
Perform Regular Data Backups
Regularly back up your critical business data to secure, offsite locations. In the event of data loss or a cyberattack, having recent backups enables swift recovery without significant disruptions or downtime. If your data falls victim to a ransomware attack, having access to your most recent backup allows you to restore your systems with minimal loss or downtime and avoid having to pay a ransom.
Employee Training and Awareness
Did you know – around 88% of data breeches are caused by human error. So, it’s important to conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about data protection policies, security best practices, and the potential risks associated with cyber threats. An informed team is a strong line of defence.
A good analogy is to imagine that your sensitive business data is a really embarrassing photo of yourself. You wouldn’t leave it lying on your desk, show it to lots of people, leave it open on your laptop screen while you went to make a cup of tea, leave a printout of it in the back of a taxi… In short, you would guard it very carefully indeed! The same goes for business data.
Using Passwords Correctly
Enforce strong password policies, including the use of complex passwords, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and regular password updates. Discourage password sharing and educate employees on the importance of safeguarding their login credentials. If you find it difficult to remember all your passwords, don’t write them down. Use a password manager instead to securely store all of your passwords.
Tips for creating a strong password (from Google)
Long passwords are stronger, so make your password at least 12 characters long if you can. Don’t use a word or phrase that can be guessed easily.
Instead, try to use:
- A lyric from a song or poem
- A quote from a movie or speech
- A passage from a book
- A series of words that are meaningful to you
- An abbreviation: Make a password from the first letter of each word in a sentence
Don’t forget to include numbers and special characters too.
Incident Response Plan
Develop a comprehensive incident response plan to address potential data breaches promptly. This plan should include clear procedures for identifying, containing, eradicating, recovering, and communicating about security incidents.
Assess Supplier Security
Regularly assess the security measures of third-party suppliers and partners who have access to your business data. Ensure that they comply with similar or stricter data protection standards to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
Establish and communicate clear data privacy policies to both employees and customers. Clearly outline the types of data collected, how it will be used, and the security measures in place to protect it. This will help to build trust with your customers as they can be confident that your business will treat their data with the utmost care and respect. Transparency in data privacy policies assures customers that your business values their privacy and is committed to responsible data handling practices.
Routine Security Audits
Conduct regular security audits and assessments of your IT infrastructure. By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities proactively, you can keep your security measures aligned with the evolving threat landscape.
Implement continuous monitoring of network activities, system logs, and user behaviour. Detect and respond to anomalies promptly, reducing the risk of security incidents going unnoticed.
In the digital realm, where data is the modern currency of business, adopting these practices will fortify your organisation’s defences. By embracing responsibility, encryption, access controls, and a commitment to adaptability, businesses can ensure their data remains protected, secure, and trustworthy.
Don’t risk it. Build a document management system you can trust.
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