As we move business more and more to an online presence, there are plenty of concerns about how sensitive data is stored and how it is protected. A leak could be very costly for you, as well as potentially endangering your clients. Here is how to make sure that your sensitive business data is never at risk.
Make access need-to-know
While you may have plenty of different software programs, online accounts, and combination systems at use in your workplace, not everyone needs to access them. Your marketing department don’t need access to accounts, for example, and the press team don’t need to be able to access customer details. Instruct your IT department to limit access to all programs for all staff members. If they need access to something to complete their work, they can have their own individual login details for it. This makes it easier to prevent data leaks from those who don’t know their way around the systems properly, or have not been taught the best practices.
Implement password protocol
Your next step is to put a policy in place regarding passwords. Staff members should be asked to change their passwords on a regular basis – perhaps every month. They should be reminded never to write down their passwords, and to try to stay away from obvious options. They should never share their password with someone else, or allow someone else to use their account. This will cut down on password hacking and will add an extra layer of security.
Encourage proxy use
You can also make it a policy that staff members are only allowed to access the internet through a proxy. A proxy will protect your data connection, meaning that data cannot be stolen through the internet. This is especially important for staff who may take their work home, accessing it through a laptop or tablet, or even a smartphone. If they are using a Wi-Fi hotspot in particular, it will be easy for hackers to get in to the data. If they are using a good proxy, that simply won’t happen. Make it clear that any employees who do not use a proxy will be held directly responsible for any data leaks that ensue from their devices.
Update software automatically
Make sure that all of your software is updated as soon as updates become available. The best way to do this is to give your IT team remote access to all computers in the company. When an update is released, they can remotely update all of the machines overnight, so that the software is ready to go by the time that work starts in the morning. This will minimise disruption to the work day as well as ensuring that all security hazards are filled immediately. Updates usually contain security patches, or in other words, the solutions that will prevent the latest methods of attack.
Keep paper copies
It may seem old-fashioned, but if you don’t need to re-use customer data in the future, you might want to think about storing it offline. Paper copies can’t be hacked or stolen through the internet. They may take up a lot of space, and aren’t as good for the environment, but they are a foolproof way to protect against online security breaches. As soon as you no longer legally need them, the records can be shredded and the remains burned to protect customer data further.
Keeping your data safe is serious business, not only for you but for your customers. Follow these tips to ensure you never have to deal with a data leak.