All businesses, regardless of industry, must be highly aware of data security issues in their daily processes. However, many companies may have a set-it-and-forget-it policy on this front, or may think they are insulated from risk when they are anything but.
Want to get a better handle on data security? Institute the following policies from the top down:
1) Prioritize privacy at the highest levels
When you start instituting these changes, it's vital that you communicate them to everyone within your organization, according to Workforce. That way, there is no ambiguity about what you're trying to achieve and everyone is on the same page with respect to expectations.
2) Require strong passwords that change regularly
One of the easiest ways to lock down sensitive personal or business information is to require employees to start using better passwords, Workforce said. Too often, people use simple, short passwords when they should, in reality, be relying on those that are lengthy (at least 10 characters) and complicated (a random mix of numbers, letters and symbols).
3) Make employees set up two-factor authentication
Along similar lines, people should be required to use two-factor authentication for all accounts, not just those where they have access to sensitive data, Workforce advised. This way, they get into the habit of signing off on a login attempt using their smartphone or independent email address.
4) Train employees
When it comes to any of the strategies being discussed here (and beyond), it's vital that all employees are properly trained in your preferred data security methods, according to Security Metrics. This, too, can't be set in stone; workers should have their training "re-upped" on a regular basis so they get that all-important refresher.
5) Get all the software-level security you need
You should certainly do some behind-the-scenes work to understand the kind of security programs you need today — and going forward, Security Metrics added. This could include any or all of anti-malware, antivirus, firewall and encryption software, and beyond.
6) Have a data breach response plan
For almost every company, suffering a data breach is a matter of "when," not if, and you need to be prepared, Security Metrics noted. Sit down and figure out how you will respond to such incidents, whether large, small or anything in between, so you can react quickly and effectively.
7) Back up sensitive data
Any business worth its salt these days will have a healthy data backup strategy in place, and make sure sensitive data is saved in multiple places often, according to Cox Blue. Without that extra layer of protection, you may find yourself paralyzed in some adverse situations.
8) Institute BYOD rules
Today, people may bring any number of personal devices into your building, but that doesn't mean you should let them onto your network, Cox Blue warned. Carefully restrict which devices can be used to access your data and you'll have an extra layer of insulation against risk.
9) Write it all down
Whatever data security policies you enact, it's important to put them in writing, Cox Blue stated. That way, if there are any questions or concerns, your employees can always refer back to what you've codified.