Security breaches are a major threat for contemporary businesses because they have to protect both the physical and digital information. Internet security is particularly important as almost 18 million websites contain malware at any given moment.
A report conducted by Norton predicts that cybercriminals are going to steal approximately 33 billion records in 2023, up from 12 billion in 2018. The numbers are huge and should warn people and organizations to pay close attention and prioritize data security.
Our goal is to help you with that, so keep reading to learn more about data security and see nine techniques to protect your information.
What Is Data Security and How to Protect It?
Before we move on to the practical data protection tips, we need to define the concept precisely. By definition, data security represents a set of standards and technologies that protect information from intentional or accidental destruction, modification or disclosure.
It’s a critical business concept because the average cost of a malware attack on a company is $2.4 million. If you want to prevent possible incidents and protect your organization, we recommend you to follow nine basic rules.
1. Lock hard copies of your files
Although most data breaches take place in the digital environment, data protection actually starts in the real world. You probably keep a lot of paper files and business-related documents, so the first task is to lock those materials and place them in the safe room.
Put the sign “Authorized Personnel Only” and don’t allow too many employees to administer these files. If possible, it would be perfect to set up security cameras because it will chase some thieves away or at least help you to identify a person who steals your documents.
2. Create passwords for smartphones and computers
This advice may seem a little too obvious, but a surprisingly big percentage of business people don’t add passwords to their smartphones and laptops. It is the first line of defense and you absolutely have to prevent such an amateur mistake.
Of course, keep in mind to create a strong password that no one can guess. Studies show that almost 90% of passwords are too simple and extremely vulnerable to hacker attacks, with the most common solutions being “123456” or “password.”
You have to create better passwords, avoiding common alternatives like personal names, pets, simple numbers, and so on.
3. Embrace two-factor authentication
Strong passwords are good, but two-factor authentication is even better. Almost every online system allows you to add another layer of protection and keep your information super-safe. How does it work?
Jake Gardner, a data security specialist at Edu Birdie, explains this process: “With two-factor authentication, a system grants you access only in case you correctly answer two identity-related inquiries. For instance, the first step of verification could be your password and the second step could be a personal question that only you know the answer to.”
4. Choose your data management system carefully
As the entire world is turning to digital data storage, choosing the right data management system has become fundamental security-wise. There are two basic options here:
- Create your own data storage system on-premises
- Hire a cloud data management provider
In each case, you have to explore every option, compare offers, and read online reviews. It will help you to find not only the cheapest data management solution but also the one that pays special attention to client security.
5. Limit the number of system administrators
Some businesses make a simple mistake that often turns out to be fatal. Namely, they don’t limit the number of system administrators and thus increase the odds of security breaches. This happens because too many employees know sensitive usernames and passwords, so it’s getting easier to hack at least one of them.
You must prevent it by reducing the number of admin licenses and sharing critical information with authorized personnel only. This makes your job a lot easier while keeping the entire organization safer.
6. Disable access when admin leaves the company
Employees come and go, but they still have sensitive information about your company or know how to access the system. This is particularly the case with system administrators who know usernames and passwords.
As soon as some of them leave the company, you must disable their admin functions and stop unauthorized operations. We are not suggesting that your former employees would do something like this, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
7. Buy antivirus software
Antivirus programs are yet another cornerstone of data security. Hackers never sleep and malware attacks happen 24/7, so it’s impossible to protect your organization manually. Instead, you need to buy antivirus software and let a specialized provider do the work on your behalf. The number of options is almost countless, but the most reliable antivirus programs include the likes of Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton, etc.
8. Keep the system up to date
Another very important recommendation is to keep your system up to date 365 days a year. There are no excuses here – whenever you notice an update notification, make sure to click the button immediately.
Why makes this tip so special? The answer is simple – older software versions have their vulnerabilities and hackers tend to attack such pain points.
For example, reports reveal that only 39% of WordPress websites are running the most current version of this content management system. This makes a site vulnerable and easy to compromise, but the same principle goes for all other programs, plugins, apps, and systems you might be operating.
9. Conduct backups regularly
The last advice is quintessential because it could save your business when it matters the most. Namely, security breaches might occur no matter how hard you try to avoid them because hackers are sometimes just way too clever.
If something like this really happens, you could lose valuable information, ruin years of hard work, and jeopardize the whole company. This is why you have to back up the data every once in a while and make sure that your organization can function despite possible data security incidents.
People and organizations generate huge volumes of data on a daily basis, but not all of them are doing their best to protect it. You should be smarter than that and keep your personal or business information safe and sound at all times.
In this article, we discussed the concept of data security and showed you nine techniques to protect sensitive information. Keep our suggestions in mind and make sure to use them – they could save you and your business one day!
Michael is widely considered to be the best essay writer in charge of topics such as malware protection and data security. Michael is also a father of two lovely kids and an amateur long-distance runner. Feel free to contact him via Facebook or check his Twitter