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Ultimate Security Measures for Businesses to Protect Sensitive Data

In light of recent widespread malware, data breaches, and online security threats, protecting the private information vital to your business may seem an impossible task. Though the loss of sensitive data may seem like a mystery, the 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report asserts that 95 percent of breaches can be categorized into a handful of causes, primarily miscellaneous mistakes, misuse by insiders and loss or theft. The key to securing private data then becomes a grave game of avoiding these most common causes. To assist in doing so, here are the ultimate techniques to help your business ensure that sensitive company information is kept secure.

Categorize Data

Miscellaneous mistakes are largely caused by human error. An employee makes a mistake resulting in the crashing of key applications or the vulnerability of sensitive data that should have been protected. Many security experts believe that the main reason businesses fall victim to data breaches is that the establishment lacks a set of policies for categorizing their data, so if an information is not classified as classified, employees make no effort to protect it. A key technique for bolstering your business’ security is to implement a minimum of a three-tier classification of the data system. The fundamental three categories should be the following:

  • Public data –Information that is not crucial and has little to no bearing on the operations of the company or the livelihood of its clientele.
  • Confidential data –Sensitive information pertaining to customer and employee identities that should be limited to a small internal group.
  • Restricted data –Data of the utmost importance to the survival of the company that should only be revealed to those “in the know.”

Regulations are required to ensure that each classification of data is handled differently and appropriately. If a business classifies any information regarding personal identity data as “confidential” and enables a policy that all confidential data must be encrypted when “at rest” in the system and when in transit across networks, a regulation is now in effect, and as long as that policy is understood by employees, that data is more likely to be secure.

Use Encryption Wisely

Encryption is a technique of securing information that is widely used but rarely done well. The secret to effective encryption is to use a strong encryption and pair that with adequate key management. Privileged data should be encrypted before it’s shared over any network, in email or in files storage. Limit access to unencrypted data to specific departments or individuals. This motion of accountability can cut down on potential misuse by insiders.

It’s equally important to update encryption practices to avoid developing vulnerabilities. The best data security plans have set regularly scheduled encryption updates to stay current on the latest techniques.

Monitor BYOD Policies

For convenience and cost considerations, many employers have adopted a BYOD policy in the workplace, allowing employees to bring and use their own smartphones, laptops, and tablets to work to complete duties they would normally do on a work PC. Unfortunately, allowing unmonitored devices into the workplace, then allowing these devices access to business data greatly boosts stolen or lost data risks. If the cost-saving benefits are worth abiding a BYOD policy, risk can be minimized by requiring employees to only use tech that has access to a virtual private network (VPN) and establishing company policies requiring immediate notification by employees if a device is lost or stolen.

A better tactic might be to equip your staff with smartphones modified with corporate-security enhancements. For example, the LG V20 features Nougat 7.0’s always-on VPN, which allows IT to force certain business apps to use a VPN connection to access the web, guaranteeing consistent secure connections. Plus a phone like the V20 offers other useful features like a work mode that disables work-related apps outside of business hours.

Assuring the protection of private data is an undeniable responsibility of any company or business that collects that information. And though contemporary tech can make this responsibility a challenge, proper classification of data, effective encryption and control of how that data is handled will deflect breaches before they occur and minimize mistakes, misuse, and theft.

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