Data protection aims to ensure both personal information and business information are safe and secure. It is an aspect that requires a lot of resources and dedicated attention as the data volume and the need to store all of the amounts generated increase multi-folds day by day.
So what is data protection and what methods are available to implement in your organisation?
Read more: Data Protection: Are Passwords Obsolete?
What is data protection?
Data protection encompasses many techniques for securing the privacy, availability, and integrity of a company's data. It is also known as data security.
Any organisation that collects, analyses, and keeps sensitive data must have a data protection strategy in place. A successful strategy may prevent data from being lost, stolen, corrupted, or harmed by disasters.
Principles of data protection
The main principles of data protection are to keep data secure and accessible at all times. Data protection has two main parts: data availability and data management.
Data availability ensures users can access the data that they need to perform business, even if the data is damaged or deleted.
Data management consists of two elements:
- Data lifecycle management: the automated transfer of important data to online and offline storage.
- Information lifecycle management: which is responsible for valuing, categorising, and securing information from system and user errors, malware and virus attacks, facility outages, or disruptions.
Read more: Your Complete Guide to Data Management
Data protection methods
Backups help prevent data loss, which can happen due to user error or technical problems. Backups should be produced and updated regularly, and though frequent backups may add to your company's cost, disruptions to normal business operations will cost businesses even more.
The less important data does not require frequent backups, but sensitive data must. Backups should be stored in a secure place and perhaps encrypted.
Compared to hard drives, tape storage is still a two-thirds cheaper option. Hard disks, on the other hand, are more adaptable and better suited to small-scale organisations. Disk-based storage systems also allow for substantially quicker data access.
High-risk data is a perfect candidate for encryption. The encryption process involves collecting data, processing it, and storing it. Data that is well-encrypted is significantly safe. Even if there is a data breach, the attacker will find the data worthless and unrecoverable.
As a result, encryption is specifically known as a data protection technique, implying that its perfect implementation will undoubtedly score your favour with authorities.
3. Access controls
The most effective strategy is the one that helps reduce risk and helps you manage access controls to your company's workflow. The fewer people have access to the data, the lower the risk of data loss or leakage.
Companies should make sure that only people with an acceptable reason have permission to access sensitive data. In addition, businesses should organise courses to train employees on how to handle and store data, especially after hiring new employees.
Sometimes, your company needs to destroy data. You may think that data destruction is not a data protection strategy, but this solution can help protect the data from unauthorised recovery and access.
Companies usually choose to degauss to destroy hard disks, while paper documents and CDs are shredded into small pieces. On-site data destruction is the perfect way to destroy sensitive data. Destroying encrypted data is much easier. What organisations need to do is destroy the decryption keys.
How to raise employees’ awareness
1. Convey a clear cybersecurity message to employees
Provide a clear message to your employees about what is going on in the business in terms of cybersecurity.
The message needs to be understandable, relatable, and diverse. When conveying the message, organisations should use simple terms instead of jargon so even non-technical people can understand.
The message should focus on personal gadgets rather than the central network. Thus, employees will be able to cope with the threat if their phones or laptops are in danger.
2. Organise cybersecurity courses for employees
The first step to raising employees’ awareness is to train them in cybersecurity. Training sessions should commence immediately on onboarding day for new employees and should be included in the company's annual training plan.
Because human error is the main cause of data breach incidents, organisations should invest in training in this vital area and frequently review and keep their training materials updated.
Furthermore, the training should advise on how to keep personal information safe when working from home or in public settings.
3. Encourage employees to take great care of their devices
According to a Forrester survey, losing or missing devices accounts for 95% of data breaches. Employees should be responsible for their devices, regardless of whether they are personal or owned by the organisation.
Businesses can provide employees with a work account that restricts monitoring, installations, and web filtering. On the other hand, employees should stay proactive and beware of the typical cyberattacks still happening today.
4. Reinforce confidentiality
The number of employees working from home has significantly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while working from home, people tend to forego discipline and safety measures, including data protection. Organisations have to remind their employees about the dangers of using universal passwords and provide real-life examples.
One of the best practices for effective data protection is to create unique passwords for each personal account and update them regularly. Employees being complacent does not mean security has to be.
The main mission of data protection is to safeguard data from cyberattacks and ensure data privacy. Besides measures helping secure data, businesses need to raise awareness so employees can take a more proactive role in protecting the company's data and be the first set of eyes fighting against external threats.
This blog post is just an introductory piece on data protection, and as with everything digital, it is continually evolving. To learn more about cybersecurity and ways to stay proactive to protect yourself and your business’ data, subscribe to our TRG blog today!