Data is commonly regarded as one of a business’ most valuable resources. As such, it is critical that you protect it from threats of all kinds, including data leaks. Data leaks are nothing to take lightly, as their impacts range from a serious hit to your business’ reputation to an equally serious hit to your business’ finances. Obviously, this is something to be avoided, so let’s discuss how you can do so.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways that data can be leaked. Obviously, there are those cyberattacks where data is stolen and distributed, but you also have to consider that your employees could easily give out your data to bad actors, either accidentally or intentionally. All of these issues are always potentially hovering over your business, so being aware of this fact is the first step toward creating a strategy to protect your data from them.
With better cybersecurity, data leaks just become less likely. This process should start with a comprehensive vulnerability assessment to identify where your current weaknesses are, followed by an assortment of other activities. These activities should include security safeguards like implementing firewalls, regular updates of all systems, and protecting yourself through encryption. It is important that you also repeat these vulnerability assessments regularly to continue improving your cybersecurity protections over time.
There is guaranteed to be some sensitive information hiding in your data storage somewhere, which means you want to have as few people as possible able to access the different areas within your computing infrastructure. We heavily advocate for the principle of least privilege—basically, everyone has access to only what they absolutely need to complete the specific tasks their role requires—combined with strict access controls with strong authentication methods in place. On top of this, your infrastructure should be monitored to spot any out-of-character user activities so threats can be proactively prevented.
Your various team members are either going to be your biggest cybersecurity vulnerability, or your greatest security asset. The difference is training. Your team needs to be taught security best practices and evaluated on their familiarity with them. Check them on their password hygiene, test them to see how well they can spot attempted phishing, and make sure they understand how to browse safely. All of this will make them less likely to allow your data out of your control.
Finally, every data leak also comes with the potential for data loss or even data tampering. This makes data backup practices that abide by the 3-2-1 Backup Rule (at least three copies, in at least two different storage media, one of which is in the cloud) absolutely critical to maintain, on top of its already-significant value in terms of business continuity in general. If your data should be lost as it leaks, a backup prevents you from starting again from behind the eight ball.
There are so many ways that your data could find its way outside of your control, it’s important to continuously carry out all of these precautions and preparations. Advantage IT Management can help. Give us a call at 251-662-9770 to learn more about our services.