To keep up with ever-changing technology and the related security threats, businesses must change their security practices. If they don’t adapt, the price of a data breach will be crushing. In order to keep your data safe, you need to learn how to protect your sensitive data.
The Ponemon Institute’s 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study showed that the average cost of a data breach is $4 million. The average cost of a stolen or lost record includes personally identifiable or sensitive information is $158. Imagine the cost of a data breach if there are hundreds of thousands of records involved.
The high cost of a data breach is the main reason companies choose the best security practices, which often means utilizing the cloud. These 10 security tips are the starting point for businesses that are using cloud-based technologies.
- Keep an Inventory of Sensitive Files
How do you know data is missing if you don’t know what’s there? Keep your files safe by keeping tabs on the information that’s stored, how it’s stored and the ways it can be accessed. If you keep track of the information stored on your servers, it will be easier to recognize issues when they arise.
- Minimize Unnecessarily Stored Data
The only reason for store unnecessary information is to give a cyber thief something to steal. Only store what you need to operate your business. If you don’t need old client’s billing information or your previous employee’s social security numbers to run your business or serve as a target for thieves. Sift through your files and remove anything that’s non-essential to your operations or outdated.
- Ensure Your Server Host Uses Physical Protection
Just because you’re storing your information digitally, it does not mean that you don’t need physical protection. Your servers should be in a secure, locked location. If your data is stored in a remote date center, they should have SSAE 16 Type II accreditation. The facility should provide physical security 24/7. Your data should be backed up in an additional server location. Here are some good tips on choosing a VDR provider.
- Use High-Grade Encryption Protocol
To maximize your file’s security, you must take the necessary steps regarding electronic safety. This means you should use high-grade encryption for files while at rest and in transfer mode. You should also use SSL/TLS protocols and firewalls.
- Keep Passwords Secure with Multi-Factor Authentication
A shocking number of data breaches are caused by careless passwords. All passwords should be customer-made and should have a wide range of configuration choices. It’s recommended that you use multi-factor authentication, with an account lockout feature that is triggered if there is a series of unsuccessful login attempts.
- Log Access History by Configuring Activity Tracking
Between contractors, clients, colleagues, and team members, many people may have access to a file. If each user has editing access, there is a risk of someone making incorrect modifications. You also risk of sabotage, shared confidential information, or malicious intent to erase files.
The activity tracker maintains a log of each user who has accessed a file, the time they accessed the file, and what changes they made to the file. A summary of this activity can be reported to the administrator in text messages or emails. They can get immediate notification of this access.
- Minimize External Access Granted
One of the benefits of the cloud includes the ability to access information anywhere and anytime. This is also the greatest risk. Consider the people who were granted permission to open a file. Chances are, you may have never met some of the people who are able to access your sensitive files and data.
Whenever you grant external access to a file, the administrator should set up customer permissions. This controls should be based on the person’s role. This means a person with access would only be allowed to view, open, or edit information based on their project responsibilities and position. There’s no reason a client should see what you’re working on for another client. There’s no reason a website design consultant needs to have access to your financial information.
- Limit Wireless Used on Public Wi-Fi
Laptops, tablets, and smartphones have made it simple to conduct business on the go. Portable devices have made it easier for security slip-ups. These devices are most often used for personal matters, this means there’s not a large risk of cross-pollination, such as having a device infect another device with malware or viruses.
If a wireless device is stolen or lost, your company’s information may end up in the wrong hands. Communication may also be intercepted over the public Wi-Fi network. Use the virtual data room to negate the risks associated with the business of personal devices.
- Certify and Train Employees
Do not grant employee access to the cloud without giving them the proper user training. You need to train employees on the best practices for cloud security and even consider starting a security education program for employees.
- Use HIPAA Compliance as Your Guide
Even if you’re in the healthcare industry, follow the HIPAA privacy guidelines. These can serve as an effective model for keeping information confidential and safe. Use HIPAA-friendly project management software to help ensure your data is protected with security protocols.
There are several ways you can empower your employees to safeguard the confidential data and minimize the security risks. Cyber attacks cost businesses $400 to $500 billion each year. This is not something you can take lightly.
Fortunately, you can follow these tips to help ensure your business is profitable and runs securely.This will help your business change their security practices to keep your data and information secure.