3 Data Security Best Practices Your Business Must Implement
A security breach can be a significant blow to a business. Depending on its scale, its fallout can range from halted production to something as detrimental as losing valuable data and customer trust.
Furthermore, recovering from a breach requires money, time, and patience. It can take a lot before a business can return to regular operations after an attack. And let’s be honest, not everyone can afford it. That’s why many growing businesses hit by a cyberattack aren’t always able to bounce back.
According to a study done early in 2021, the average cost of a data breach reached $4.24 million — a significant increase of 10 percent compared to 2019. It means that cybercriminals are becoming more and more aggressive as each year passes.
If left unchecked, you and your business might become the next victim of a cyber attack.
Here at Intelligent Technical Solutions, we help businesses defend their data from cybercriminals by providing multi-layered cybersecurity solutions.
In this article, we’ll provide you with three best practices you can do to secure your data from hackers and other forms of digital threats.
3 Data Security Best Practices
1. Secure End-to-End Encryption with SSL and TLS
Like the bandits in an old western movie chasing steam trains for gold, cybercriminals conduct heists when their target is on the move. It’s not because they idolize bandits but because data, same as the gold bars, is in its most vulnerable state when it’s in transit.
Luckily, you don’t have to play sheriff to prevent such attacks. What’s recommended is to install Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols in your network.
SSL and TLS help protect data as it moves across many locations — for instance, to cloud-based archives or off-site servers.
So what’s the difference between SSL and TLS?
SSL provides a secure connection between two endpoints across three factors:
- Encryption (provides privacy)
- Authentication (through certificates)
- Predictability (via message integrity checking)
TLS (an update to SSL) standardizes private digital communications. It works on two levels:
- Record protocol (manages a stable client-server connection)
- Handshake protocol (allows for authenticated client-server communication)
2. Install an Access Control Policy
Another great way to protect your data is to initiate an access control policy. This method minimizes the risk of exposing sensitive business information by regulating data access to users.
The system will detect and prevent any attempts to access data outside a user’s scope. For example, a sales team member can only access data related to sales and nothing more. A sales team member wouldn’t be able to access files from Human Resources since it’s not related to their role.
The policy will also declutter the database of each team, allowing them to fetch their needed info faster and more efficiently.
Here are some items to remember when implementing an access control policy:
- Limit the number of administrators in your system. That level of access is unnecessary for most employees to perform security breaches that disrupt my business.
- Many clients have permissive firewall rules that have no business justification, which creates correctable vulnerabilities.
- Segment your network. It will limit attackers’ ability to move through the system. Segmenting your network makes it harder for infiltrators to access sensitive data but requires an in-depth understanding of where your critical data is stored.
3. Create a Culture of Cybersecurity
One of the most significant security flaws of many businesses surrounds cybersecurity culture. Employees that are not acquainted with proper cybersecurity practices expose their company to security risks. They take shortcuts and unsafe approaches, which create loopholes that cybercriminals can exploit.
Establishing a strong cybersecurity culture is essential. It helps protect company assets and sensitive information by encouraging employees to make smart judgments aligned with cybersecurity policies.
A strong data security culture means we educate our team around the data life cycle:
- What is the data? (payment info, personal identifying info, etc.)
- How is the data created? (form submissions, tracking, etc.)
- How is the data maintained and shared while in use by my business? (to segment my network)
- How is the data stored and archived? (for appropriate at-rest data security measures)
Next-gen cybersecurity software won’t be that useful in securing your business if cybercriminals can exploit the poor security practices of employees. Everyone in the team needs to realize that cyberthreats are real, and their day-to-day actions impact your safety.
Are You Following These Data Security Best Practices?
As cyberattacks continue to rise, our measures to defend our network and data should too. While upgrading to the latest tech and software seems like the obvious approach, taking up simple yet effective cybersecurity practices can also help bring your defenses a long way.
Remember, cybercriminals are hot on data when it’s on transit, so take extra precautions when moving it. Access Control Policy will help control who can access data within your business, while cybersecurity culture will constitute a collective effort to defend your network and data.
Here at ITS, we help businesses keep their data from cyber criminals using modern security protocols and continuous education about cybersecurity.
If you want to learn more about how you can improve your cybersecurity, watch our video entitled 15 Ways to Protect Your Business from a Cyber Attack.