As we have seen from the increasingly high profile breaches, when these advancements move faster than IT can keep up, vulnerabilities increase. The costs of a breach are rising, and as new legislation and compliance mandates are created, the penalties for noncompliance are increasing as well. The c-suite is on edge, and the conversations in the boardroom have turned to questioning IT practices and policies for data security, encryption, network security and endpoint protection. It is critical to remain vigilant as data breaches become a daily threat.
The following 10 data security tips are not fail-proof, but they will reduce vulnerabilities, increase data protections, and improve your ability to respond and recover should you become a cybersecurity victim.
- Inventory Data
You need to know where your sensitive data resides in order to protect it. It’s critical to monitor this data for unusual activity that would alert you to possible suspicious activity. Understanding what data is most important will also help you to remediate and recover faster in the event of a breach.
- Use Encryption
Data needs to be encrypted in motion or at rest whether on servers, laptops, tablets or smartphones. Encryption is mandatory to comply with industry regulations and protects your organization so that if your data falls into the wrong hands it will be useless to them.
- Segregate Data
Sensitive data should be isolated from data that has a lower risk profile. Place higher protections around sensitive data and insure that if a breach takes place, the hacker is unable to gain access to the company's crown jewels.
- Enact a Mobile Device Action Plan
It was reported that 74% of companies allow employees to use their personal devices for work-related purposes, according to Tech Pro Research. Set policies in place to stop employees from storing sensitive company data on devices, require device password protection and data encryption, and require security apps to be installed. Educate employees on reporting procedures and institute remote wipe in the case of lost or stolen equipment.
- Set Backup Procedures
Critical data should be backed up daily and in the case of critical transactional data, even more frequently. Make sure backups are accessible at the time of a breach, and practice backup and restore features to ensure your ability to quickly recover. Some data may also need to be stored offsite and offline to protect its integrity.
- Secure Your Wi-Fi
Hackers are looking for ways into your network, and your Wi-Fi is a vulnerability. There are several policies that need to be put in place to lower your risk, such as monitor the network for intrusions, use Wi-Fi encryption protocols, change default passwords, control signals, as well as implement Wi-Fi security tools.
- Employ Least Privileges
No single employee, whether a systems administrator, a marketing admin or the CEO should have access to all your data. Employ least privilege policies so that employees are only allowed to access the data they need to do their job. Staff should also not be allowed to install any software or make any system updates without authorization.
- Institute Strong Password Policies
While there are many ways to break into your systems, stolen passwords still present a big threat. Policies such as two-factor authentication, complex passwords, and frequent password updates go a long way to ensuring credentials are useless if they fall into the wrong hands. Policies should mandate changes to hard-coded and default passwords that pose a great risk, especially with IoT devices.
- Vet Cloud Vendors, Managed Service Providers and Colocation Facilities
While these vendors are your partners in keeping your organization operational and safe, don’t go in blind. Do an assessment of your current infrastructure needs and use that question how the provider will address your unique data scenarios and security needs. A true partner will work with you to ensure that your needs are met with the expertise you need.
- Be Prepared
The worst-case scenarios need to be practiced and responses perfected. Create a playbook that outlines all policies and procedures that need to be enacted in the event of a data breach or cyberattack. How will you respond to ransomware? What will you do if a device is stolen? How will you know if data is being extracted at 3 am? Don’t be caught off-guard.
There are many exciting opportunities that come with the digital economy. In order to realize the benefits, you need a partner who will ensure your infrastructure is not only optimized but also protected. At OneNeck® IT Solutions, our qualified engineers can work with you to determine your unique security risks and develop a plan to address those risks and defend your network. As a complete hybrid IT solutions provider, we implement security best practices as an integral part of your network, data center, collaboration and mobility solutions.