Data protection involves having a set of processes and systems designed to safeguard digital data such as customer payment details, protected health records, intellectual property, or any information specified by compliance regulations.
But while data protection is important for businesses of all sizes, small businesses like yours often have fewer resources and staff to dedicate to data security. Additionally, you may be more likely to store sensitive customer information on your own systems, rather than use a secure cloud-based service. These factors can put your data at risk and make your business vulnerable to data breaches.
Here are five simple data protection practices that your small business can follow to help keep your data secure.
1. Document your data protection strategy
Right now, you may be using a handful of apps, devices, and systems to run your operations. But as your organization grows, your technology will only become more complicated, which can make it difficult to keep track of your data. And if you don’t have a good grasp of what kind of data you have and where you keep them, your data protection strategy will most likely fail.
By effectively managing your data environment and properly documenting your protection strategy from the get-go, you will be able to identify what data needs to be secured and implement the best plan forsecuring it. This documentation will also prove useful in reviewing or updating your strategy.
2. Provide ongoing employee training
Train all employees on data protection and make sure that they understand its importance. This will allow them to properly handle sensitive data and enable them to execute the necessary protocols immediately if they believe there has been a data breach.
Providing ongoing training will also help keep your employees up to date on the latest data protection practices. In addition, it can instill a data protection culture within your organization, ensuring that your strategy is being followed at all times, not just when convenient, such as during audit season.
Related reading: 7 Essential topics to cover in your cybersecurity awareness training program
3. Implement proactive solutions
Robust proactive cybersecurity solutions can spell the difference between thwarting and succumbing to a cyberattack. Proactive solutions include encrypting data, establishing strict access controls, and regularly checking systems for vulnerabilities.
Round-the-clock monitoring and reporting procedures are also essential proactive cybersecurity components. By continuously monitoring your system, you can quickly spot suspicious activities and take action before these become a problem. Meanwhile, having reporting procedures enable you to document any incidents and track your response. This is especially helpful if you need to explain any security incidents to authorities.
4. Take a multilayered approach to security
A multilayered approach to cybersecurity is all about deploying several distinct security measures to create a robust defense against cyberattacks. For instance, apart from having physical security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to your premises, you should also have logical security measures, such as enabling multifactor authentication on top of passwords. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to penetrate your systems and steal information.
Make sure to regularly review your multilayered approach to ensure that it remains effective, and address any changes that need to be made.
5. Secure your backups
Having updated and secure backups is essential in data protection. For one, in the event of a disaster such as a data breach or power outage, you need your backups so you don’t lose or compromise critical data. You also need backups to be able to quickly restore your data and ensure business continuity.
Some backup best practices include storing your backups in multiple locations and testing your backups regularly to guarantee they work. And because data storage can be expensive, always create backups according to data priority. Also, consider how much data you can afford to lose (i.e., recovery point objective) and how long you can afford to have your systems down before you can get them back online (i.e., recovery time objective).
Implementing these five data protection practices will help keep your data safe. However, know that no data protection strategy is 100% effective. There’s always some risk associated with storing and using sensitive data, but by partnering with the right business technology specialists, you can minimize the risks to data safety.
Get in touch with XBASE Technologies today to get started on a data protection strategy that works for your business. Call us at 416-613-9565 or drop us a line.