Cisco’s 2021 Privacy Benchmark Study reveals that out of more than 4,700 security experts, 34% say data security has become a core responsibility for their cybersecurity team, according to statistics on TechBeacon. Regardless of the size of your business, implementing an effective information security plan is critical. You want to ensure hackers cannot access your company data and the customer details stored in your systems.
In the past decades, cyberattacks were less common, but with the digital tools available today, your organization could be a target for hackers if left exposed and unprotected. Note that data breaches are always costly, and that could harm your bottom line. Therefore, explore what cybersecurity for small businesses is and choose the right strategy. Below are a few ways to implement an effective data security strategy for your business.
Identify What Is At Risk
The first step to developing a successful data security policy is to outline what is at high risk. So, write down all the digital tools, including databases and the data itself, software, and the hardware you use to run your business. You’ll have a detailed inventory of your business systems and data by the end of the process. Once you’re aware of the systems in your organization that hackers are likely to target, find out which aspects you’re required to protect based on privacy regulations. As a business owner, you need to ensure you store and protect your data in the most compliant manner. Also, understand that you cannot secure everything. With this in mind, focus on securing data that matters to your company based on the level of sensitivity.
Evaluate Existing Data Security Protocols
Whether you’re managing a small business or large enterprise, chances are you already have data security protocols in place. Cybersecurity experts suggest assessing your current strategy before developing and implementing a new one. When evaluating your existing data security strategy, pay attention to performance and potential risks. Doing so helps you identify areas that need improvement and set metrics to measure success. Also, make sure to assess if your security protocols are compliant.
At this stage, consider investing resources in in-house and third-party systems auditing to determine high-risk areas. Auditing will also help you address education and culture gaps that increase your cybersecurity risks. In addition to auditing, archive your website where customers share personal data with your company. By archiving your business website, you can secure data while staying compliant with internet regulations. According to MirrorWeb, website archiving relies on specialized software that crawls website content to develop lasting digital records. This method is the best way to capture internet records in a legal and tamperproof manner. Web archiving also ensures the captured data is accessible and can be replayed at a later date.
Enhance Your Data Security Approach
Now that you have an idea of your company’s data security needs, take time to evaluate software solutions you can use to keep confidential information safe from hackers. For instance, you can utilize authentication and access management tools to ensure your systems are accessible to authorized people only. You may also want to leverage the power of encryption software. These tools help encrypt data, so it becomes useless to anyone without the decryption keys. Alternatively, you can use data masking software to prevent data misuse. Ideally, data masking software applies a mask over sensitive data. For example, the use of asterisks blocks viewers from reading credit card numbers. Risk assessment tools are other digital solutions worth integrating into data security systems, as they help you audit your business networks and software security.
Build A Strong Data Security Team
Many entrepreneurs prefer outsourcing cybersecurity services to third-party companies because it’s one of the most affordable ways of accessing information security experts. However, business security advisors recommend building an internal security team, then blending your in-house security expertise with external workers when necessary. After assembling a data security team, ensure you educate them about compliance. This step is critical in preventing human error that could result in costly data breaches.
Make it a habit to provide regular training to top business leaders and in-house staff with access to your system. This tactic ensures everyone is on the same page when it comes to protecting data, and most importantly, it prevents employee issues. Also, manage your data systems with utmost care and erase outdated or unneeded user profiles. If your business accommodates a hybrid working model, ensure you authorize access to active users working remotely.
It’s important to note that data security is different from data protection, which entails copying stored information and backing it up. From the perspective of cybersecurity experts, data security involves implementing strict measures that limit the misuse of information by hackers and business rivals. To ensure you implement an effective data security strategy, determine what is at risk and evaluate existing security protocols. Also, upgrade your data security tactics and hire a robust data security team.
Desiree Macy is the Editorial Director of Security Forward which is frequented by security executives, corporate security officers, and private protection professionals each month. Desiree’s interests revolves around cyber-security, and business continuity.