Proper methods for keeping your data safe can help prevent breaches that hurt businesses. They also allow organizations to meet compliance requirements, increase brand value, and support an ethical business model.

In the business world, it’s all about trust, but how can you expect someone to trust you if you can’t keep their (or your own) personal information safe? Still, there are many different forms of data and ways in which this data can be compromised. Let’s find out what are some of the most reliable methods for keeping it all safe!

Problems Caused by Data Leakage

Data breaches and leaks can cause a number of rather serious consequences. Some of them involve corruption or destruction of databases, which are bad in their own right. However, the idea of a leak of confidential information can be far more catastrophic.

First of all, it puts a permanent dent in your reputation. Second, in a scenario where the data theft involved a sensitive piece of intellectual property, the financial damage caused could be immeasurable.

Potential targets of a data breach can be subjects like:

  • Personal information
  • Financial information
  • Intellectual property
  • Competition information
  • Legal information
  • Health information
  • IT security data

In either of these scenarios, the injured party suffers direct damage, while a malicious third party can gain a competitive advantage or a direct financial gain. Both of these serve as an excellent motivator.

Most Infamous Examples of Data Leakage

Even the top-dogs of the industry aren’t spared of a potential data leak. During the infamous Facebook data breach, as many as 267 million records were compromised. At the time of the Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube breach, there were 235 million compromised records. There are countless similar examples out there.

There are two major misconceptions that one has to deal with in order to protect their records in the digital environment. The first one is that no target is big enough to be 100% secure. The second one is that no one is too small/insignificant to be a target.

Data Leakage Categories

In terms of ways in which data leakage can occur, there are three major categories. These categories are:

  • In transit: The method known as encryption is supposed to protect the data in transit (in the form of an email, as well as data shared through chats, web traffic, and other sources).
  • At rest: Even in databases, data is far from secure. The same goes for data on laptops (which can be stolen) and desktops (which can be accessed while you’re not around).
  •  In use: Data currently used is also not 100% secure, seeing as how people can capture screenshots or take photographs of the screen. Needless to say, the latter is almost impossible to detect or prevent other than through screening people you’re sharing data with.

To keep your data leak-proof, you would have to find a way to cover all three of these categories.

Safer In-House Data Management

The safest way for in-house data handling is through IIM tools like M-Files. When it comes to integrating it with the rest of your cybersecurity measures, the versatility of this method is second to none. The automation of workflows and integration with security solutions are just two methods used to ensure data security and integrity.

Today, most businesses perform regular audits and need to present their clients and users with regulatory compliance. Keeping all of this safe and accessible are the prerequisites to running an efficient organization in the digital world.

The Use of Encryption

In order to protect your data in transit, you need to be smarter about your use of encryption. The biggest challenge here lies in the fact that the workforce is always on the move.

Therefore, devices leave the company network, and there are also numerous instances where employees access secure company data from unsecured devices. Fortunately, if the data is encrypted, it’s inaccessible to outsiders even when it’s lost. This acts as an additional safety net that you can count on in the worst-case scenario.

Secure Backups

Theft of data is not the only worst-case scenario that you will have to deal with. In some situations, a breach will result in a loss of corruption of vital data. This alone can ruin hours and days of hard work, thus costing your organization dearly. To avoid this, it’s vital that you introduce regular secure backups.

These backups can be risky on their own, seeing as how they contain a lot of essential data in a single place. So, the best way to protect it is to make sure that these backup servers are not publicly visible. This is also an area where an IIM can be incredibly useful since it can restrict access to certain files based on their credentials.

Employee Education

All the above-listed ideas and concepts are irrelevant if your employees are not careful enough. If their laptop gets stolen while they’re logged into company tools, platforms, and accounts, there’s not much you can do before the data gets compromised.

If passwords used by your staff members are weak or obvious (pet names, children’s birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), someone can just log in and appropriate private data that you’re safekeeping.

To avoid the majority of these nightmare scenarios, you need to educate your employees about safe behavior in the digital environment. Make sure that they know how, when, and which devices/networks are safe to use for work.

 Teach them about the concept of phishing and its hazards. Tell them a thing or two about staying logged in and ask them if they know how to make a strong password. Some platforms have a strong password requirement (multiple character types, capitalization, etc.), but this won’t always be the case.

There’s a reason why some of the highest-paid IT jobs require certifications that promote best security practices. We are, after all, living in a time of cybercrime and security theft.

One of the most important tasks here is the BYOD policy of your company. In the scenario where your employees are bringing their own devices to work, you need to make sure they know how to protect sensitive company data. This way, you’re giving your staff a choice – either comply with all these rules while using their personal devices or use a device provided by the company.

Endpoint Protection

The protection of devices that receive or handle sensitive data (desktop, laptop, tablets, mobile devices, etc.) is often overlooked, which is a significant mistake. Strong passwords and screen locks (ideally with biometric identification) are highly advised. Still, the hardware in your office needs to be protected, as well. The security of the perimeter (for the hardware that your on-spot workforce uses) comes in the form of a security guard or a surveillance system.

Wrap Up

To sum it all up, data breaches cause loss of trustworthiness and revenue. It compromises the personal information of your clients and portrays your entire organization as either negligent or incompetent. In order to avoid this, you need to understand some of the most common sources of this threat. From here, you can take measures to prevent these data breaks or leaks from ever happening. While this is easier said than done, it’s far from impossible. Most importantly, it’s more than worth your time and resources.

Posted by Miley Dowling

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