It does not matter how large a business is when it comes to prioritizing data security and emphasizing its importance. Data security is a critical factor which helps to safeguard all valuable information and keeps a business impervious to those outside “bad actors” who could undermine its operations.
What do we mean by data security?
Data security involves putting in place specific controls, rules, policies, and procedures to protect data from unauthorized access, destruction or accidental loss. Most well prepared organizations have some type of data security controls which are often very comprehensive. These controls can also include implementing safeguards to prevent access to areas such as websites, computers, and any business databases.
What are some benefits of having a sound data security system for a business?
- Safeguards sensitive information: Sensitive information (think, for example, of the medical information of a patient or financial details about the accounts of a bank’s customer) is also crucial information that is not meant for public viewing. Data security keeps all this information “in-house.”
- Bolstering a business’ reputation: Any organization that can keep its business “secrets” builds up confidence among customers, who know that their data is both safe and secure.
- Marketing and competitive edge: Keeping sensitive information from illegal access and disclosure keeps a business ahead of its competitors and allows the business to focus resources to expand its operation rather than have those same valuable resources re-directed toward costly breaches.
What are the risks of poor data security?
- Costly fines and litigations: Data breaches are usually serious offenses which can lead to legal actions from the customer against an organization. Failure to comply with any applicable regulations can result in hefty fines and penalties depending on the severity of the breach (among other factors).
- Reputation/business damage: Privacy and security of data are important to customers. Customers will lose confidence in a company that cannot keep their private information well-protected. Loss of business and a damaged reputation are the by-products of poor data security.
What are ideal practices to maintain data security and prevent a breach?
- Use both external and internal firewalls: Using both types of firewalls (by firewall, one is referring to a network security system that essentially controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on particular security rules) gives a business more enhanced protection of its data.
- Training: Ensure that all employees who access the networks have the necessary knowledge regarding the company’s security policies and guidelines. They should also be held accountable while also understanding actions that can be taken against them in the event of data breaches.
- Backup: All data should be backed up. A backup allows for business to continue with minimal interruption. Storing the files elsewhere can also quickly determine how much data was lost and/or corrupted. In that way, in case of accidental data loss, the business has a fallback plan.