October 25, 2021
How To Keep Your Company's Data Secure

How To Keep Your Company's Data Secure

Ina AponteOctober 25, 2021,

Data theft is a matter of grave concern irrespective of whether you are managing a small or large company. Businesses and organizations need to make data security a priority to secure their greatest assets and responsibility.

We consulted the experts on what companies can do to secure their data and put together here the best ways on how you can do that.

Knowing and Classifying Your Data

Data security starts with knowing and classifying the data that you have; making sure that you have a process for data classification is very important. Based on the data classification, different security controls should be applied to the data.

For example, public data can be published on the website, but confidential data should be stored behind a multi authentication gateway and with a restricted authorization mechanism either with a local identity management solution or with a cloud provider that supports providing these features.

Hacking now is not done by underground professional hacking groups only. The world is full at this moment with what we call script kiddies, beginners that surf the web searching for easy bugs and leaked data.

This is one of the many reasons that every company should start putting more focus on data protection. Take the first steps to protect your data by running a cybersecurity program or hiring professionals to do it for you before it is too late.

Eslam Reda, Application Security Engineer at Founda Health; Securing healthcare data. SECLINQ

Store Sensitive Data On Encrypted Cloud Storage

Companies need to store their data, especially sensitive customer information, in encrypted and password-protected cloud storage. Not only should users have to enter their usernames and passwords to access the files, but there should also be a form of advanced authentication.

Two-factor authentication would require them to enter a passcode sent to their mobile devices, while multi-factor authentication would require biometrics like fingerprint or facial recognition.

You should also secure the physical area where the devices holding the data are. Additionally, make sure your software has AES-256 encryption, the current industry standard. 

Aliza Vigderman, Senior Editor and Industry Analyst of the digital security website Security.org

Keep Your Software Up-to-Date

At a bare minimum, all companies should keep their software up to date, be mindful of phishing attacks, use two-factor authentication, and use only trusted USB devices. Data should be secured at rest and in motion. This means it needs to be stored in an encrypted manner at your data center, cloud, and endpoints and also in motion with VPNs, zero-trust network solutions, or encryption software designed to share data securely.

Ron Gula, Former NSA, Co-founder of Tenable Network Security (TENB on NASDAQ), is currently the President of Gula Tech Adventures, investor and philanthropist in 100+ cyber companies and organizations, including Huntress Labs, Girl Security, Scythe, Cybrary, and Trinity Cyber. 

A data breach may be disastrous for any organization or small enterprise unprepared for this new threat. You can assist keep your company's data secure as a business owner or employee. The first step is to understand the common causes of data breaches and how to avoid them.

Below tips can help you protect your workspace, keep safe when receiving emails, and generate strong passwords.

Workplace Data Security

Protect critical company data from guests or others not authorized to see it if you leave your desk working on a project. For example, lock your computer when you leave it. You can also demand your user account password to unlock or wake your machine. Clean up after the conference. Pick up documents immediately after printing, copying, or faxing. Store confidential papers safely. Keep an eye out for danger.

Keep an eye out for Phishing Emails

Criminals and hackers use phishing emails to target your credit and identity, acquire control of your computer and network, or steal your password and access company data. They typically look from a reliable source, such as your credit card company or another vendor, and invite you to download links or attachments. You should delete suspicious emails immediately.

Strong Passwords

Using strong passwords and updating them regularly makes data theft more difficult. Never tell anyone your password. Choose something cryptic but memorable, so you don't have to write it down. If you do write it down, keep it locked away.

Travel Safely

Traveling with portable electronics, such as laptops, tablets, and cellphones, can be risky. Remember to log out of secure public systems so others can't see your account and password.

Identify Social Engineering: Social engineers get what they need by assembling pieces of information from many sources, including your social profiles and your organization's data.

Daniela Sawyer, Founder and Cyber Security Manager of FindPeopleFast.net

Keeping company data secure is vital for all businesses. Whether they are big or small, companies must take the proper precautions to protect their data. Most of the data which needs protection is stored in the cloud or on local hardware. Protecting data from malware or prying eyes is not overly complicated, as long as the proper measures are in place.

Here are processes all businesses should use to keep data safe and secure. 

Ensure Your Wireless Network Is Secure

If your business uses a wireless network, you need to have strong security measures in place. Hackers may be able to sneak through cracks in your security and access your data. Even if you have an encryption key in place for the network, some hackers may be able to bypass it easily.

To strengthen your wireless network, utilize the most robust encryption setting you can and turn off the broadcasting function. This will make your network virtually invisible– it is hard to hack what you cannot see.

Educate Yourself Of Phishing Schemes

Phishing schemes are a common way that criminals and hackers attempt to access and steal your data. They usually come in the form of fake emails, including links or attachments available for download. 

Make sure you and your employees can accurately recognize phishing attempts. Only open emails that come from someone you know are something that you were expecting, have come from someone who has sent you an email before, or doesn’t have any strange characters or spelling. 

Learning to recognize these attempts will help better secure your business data.

Store Physical Information Securely

Although cyberattacks are a common threat to businesses of all sizes, physical documentation is also at risk. Keep physical documents that contain sensitive information safely stored away in a locked area, like a cabinet, safe or secured room. 

Limit who has access to the room or cabinet by only allowing your most trusted employees access to the information. Once you no longer need the data, dispose of the documents properly by running them through a shredder. 

Don’t Save Unnecessary Information

Many companies collect information about their customers and employees for a variety of reasons. The more information you collect, the more you need to protect. Limit the amount of information you save, as this can protect you and your clients in the event of a data breach. 

If you do not need to save it, dispose of it properly or don’t collect it in the first place.

Develop A Strategy For Data Breaches 

You should always be prepared for data breach scenarios. The way you respond can be the difference between a minor occurrence and a costly situation. To develop your plan, you will need to thoroughly evaluate your information and what kind of breaches could happen. Your plan should include the following:

Close any gaps promptly

Shut down and disconnect any computers that are compromised to stop potential spreading. -

Notify the proper authorities: You may need to notify customers and law enforcement about the breach, but this will be dependent on what information was stolen.

Thoroughly investigate the occurrence: Hire an agency or conduct an internal investigation to evaluate what caused the breach. 

Protect Against Malicious Software

Avoid data threats by ensuring your computers are safe against malware, leading to extensive data damage and loss.  There are advanced security software options available that are excellent for safeguarding data. When choosing a software security option for your business, search for protection that handles identity theft, hacking, and suspect websites. 

Optimize Passwords

Although passwords on their own usually will not safeguard all of your company’s data, it is still a good measure to have in place. Complex passwords are much more difficult for hackers to crack, giving you additional protection.  Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters long with numbers and special symbols embedded throughout. Changing passwords frequently, although it can be a nuisance, may also help. 

Jonathon Jachura, Forex & Finance Expert

Enact Strong Browser Security Policies

Enacting strong browser security policies should be a top priority of all organizations. Corporate data leaks like DataSpii can occur via browser extensions. Seemingly innocuous extensions can access full-page content that collects sensitive data and sell them to the highest bidder. 

It is one of the few methods that can circumvent passwords, two-factor authentication, and even VPNs. Tools like CRXcavator can help vet browser extensions and their data collecting abilities.

Sam Jadali, Renowned Cybersecurity Researcher at Melurna, and Founder of Host Duplex, a managed cloud hosting provider, DataSpii

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