The more often data is moved around, the more vulnerable it can be. However, using various integrated platforms is often essential for everyday business activity, so when data is moved around it needs to be ‘insured’ and protected.
Getting lost data back is much more difficult than protecting it, so with some education and foresight, businesses can protect themselves while using all their favourite cloud-based tools and software. Learn how to secure data.
1. Backup all data
When human error, power outages, and laptop loss are worryingly prevalent - American IT firm Gartner believe a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds - effective data backup is crucial. If you’re moving data to a third party platform, several safe backups will cover you and your business if something goes wrong with the transfer or storage.
Backing up data effectively is always good practice, regardless of which platforms you’re currently using or moving to. Content from a business device should be stored on reliable media including a physical device, off-site in a secure location, and on a reliable cloud-based platform.
2. Protect devices used remotely
Many platforms that you’ll choose to integrate with will be cloud-based, so members of your team will be able to access it on different devices. If just one device is easy for malicious malware to access, the whole platform, and the data stored on it, could be at risk.
All laptops and mobile devices used outside the office should have the same protections as devices used in the office, including firewalls, 3-factor authentication, and necessary restrictions to public WiFi networks.
3. Research all third parties
We have to place some trust in third parties when storing data, as cloud-based software is so necessary for flexible business activity, but there are some critical questions everyone should ask before they commit.
How they manage encryption, what their data security certifications are, and how much control over your data you’ll be able to retain, are three of the most important questions to cover. The way your data is stored in relation to other business’ is also a common concern, as many data centres won’t be able to separate files onto separate servers because of high costs and difficulty managing it.
4. Restrict access and educate users
When data is particularly sensitive or valuable, many businesses choose to restrict access to a small part of an organisation, or even just to one individual who takes responsibility. The fewer people involved, the less room for error when moving between integrated platforms. If access to a platform is essential to a staff member’s role, their permissions should still be restricted if necessary.
Those who do have access to the data need to understand how data security affects the whole company and what their role in it is. Phishing and malware can come in the form of a simple email, so staff need to be able to identify even the most subtle threats.
5. Learn from previous attacks
If your business has already experienced a data attack, learning from the access points and fixing the infrastructure access points is essential. Some of the biggest hacks of 2017 have demonstrated that all businesses must trust their developers, use robust API authentication, and regularly check the security of stored data and where its vulnerabilities could be.
2018’s GDPR will change the way organisations can store and extract data. Download our ultimate pre-GDPR guide to data protection, and find out what to do first.