Elements of Secure ConnectivityITFirst South Africa
Every company—big or small—handles data in one way or the other. Regardless of the nature of your business at some point, you’ll create, store, share or receive data. And a company’s information is arguably one of its most valuable assets. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritise data security as a company.
A lot could go wrong if your company’s data falls into the wrong hands. Potential lawsuits, loss of customers, damage to your business reputation and job losses may occur.
Granted, technological advancements have made it possible for companies to employ sophisticated methods to safeguard data. But hackers have also upped their game concerning theft, altering or deleting sensitive company information. Mind you, this isn’t heresy, the stats speak for themselves:
- According to Forbes, the first six months of 2019 saw over 4 billion records exposed due to data breaches.
- The World Economic Forum has noted that cyber-attacks are among the top five risks to global stability.
- Prominent online commercial platform eBay was hacked in 2014.
Hacking into company data is fast becoming a cause for concern. That’s why companies need to step their data security game up a notch.
What is Data Security?
So, what exactly is data security? Simply put; data security means putting the necessary measures in place to keep your company’s data safe. We’ve established that hackers play a huge role with regards to compromising your company’s data. But sadly, they can’t take all the credit.
The following scenarios are also known potential threats that can result in the loss of your company’s data:
- System failure
- Corruption by a computer virus
- User error can result in information being overwritten or in worst cases deleted
Also, something as simple as losing devices such as laptops and tablets containing valuable company information can result in loss of data.
How to Secure Your Company Data
What can you do to safeguard your company’s data? You have to cover two aspects; the physical and logical component.
Data security is as much physically protecting your company hardware containing your valuable company data as it is securing the actual data. Physical security involves introducing robust physical security measures to protect your data. Logical security involves placing specific controls to deter, restrict or manage access to your computers. Both aspects complement each other and must be used in collaboration for an effective data security strategy.
Let’s unpack the two methods.
Physical Requirements of Secure Data Connectivity
To physically protect your company’s data, means putting up physical barriers to protect your data. These barriers aim to:
- Prevent unauthorised parties from accessing areas they aren’t supposed to
- Catch unauthorised parties tampering with your company data in the act
- Alerting security personal whenever data breach is suspected.
These physical barriers come in various forms. While you can decide to pick one barrier, it’s advisable to take a holistic approach and incorporate as many of them as you can. Examples of physical barriers for monitoring and detection include but aren’t limited to the following:
The first thing you need to do is beef up your security on access points. Who’s entering your company premises or data rooms? To ascertain this, you should consider:
- Placing security personnel in key access points.
- Using biometric technology such as fingerprints to access rooms where information is stored.
- Use access tags.
Companies have been using surveillance methods to monitor premises since time immemorial. The fact that it’s still being done today means it works.
You can never go wrong with installing Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) to keep an eye on your data rooms or what employees are getting up to. You can even take it one step further by setting up your surveillance cameras to send emails or text messages when movement is detected when it shouldn’t be after hours.
Setting up surveillance cameras is all good and well, but vigilance is also required on your part. Locking server rooms or devices containing sensitive information is advisable. Leaving vulnerable devices lying around makes it easy for hackers to access sensitive information.
While locking up important devices, don’t leave out the printer. If your printer is stolen, a hacker can access the memory and retrieve important printed company documents. Don’t leave anything to chance.
Always back up your important information. This will come in handy if data happens to be accidentally overwritten, deleted or if a system failure occurs.
It’s not uncommon for dodgy employees to replicate your company information to removable media. To avoid this, you must remove or disable any USB drives and other connecting external drives.
Logical Requirements of Secure Data Connectivity
We’ve covered the physical aspect of protecting your data, now let’s discuss the logical prerequisites. As mentioned, logical security requires that you place specific controls to manage access to your computer systems and data storage.
You have the following options.
Passwords are a simple but very effective method to restrict unauthorised users from accessing sensitive company data.
Anyone trying to access a certain program or computer must input a password. Make sure the password is unique and secure—one that can’t be easily guessed by hackers or unauthorised employees.
An effective password is one that meets any one or all of the following characteristics:
- A mixture of upper and lower cases
- Contains at least one special character
- Have at least eight characters
Aside from using passwords, consider creating user profiles for your employees. User profiles are crucial if multiple people access the same system.
You can set up profiles according to the level of information a particular employee can access. As a result, employees can only access information that pertains to them.
Alongside user profiles, you can restrict access to sensitive information from unauthorised users by disabling certain features depending on their access level. In this case, if someone wants to access information not pertaining to them, they need permission from a higher-level user.
It’s advised not to give one person full control over a company’s data storage controls. No single user should be able to make changes without the knowledge of at least one additional person.
To protect your company’s data from hackers, it’s important to employ data encryption. Here you use codes that deny access from unauthorised users to encrypted data.
With data masking, you hide certain information to protect digital information from exposure to malicious sources. Case in point: hiding the first 12 digits of a customer’s credit card number.
Information no longer being used must be erased from the computer as well as the server. Customer names and card details are examples of information that can be deleted if no longer active.
For effective data security, we recommend you call in the professionals to handle the task. And that’s our speciality at Huge Connect. Get in touch with us today and you’re one step closer to safeguarding your customer and company’s important information.