Every business, big or small, should protect its data. You can’t expect your employees to inherently know how to act in times of data loss, or how to prevent security breaches, nor can you guarantee that a potential data breach is not looming in the distance. Because there will always be people who will want to know what you’re up to, or worse, people who will gladly sell your customers’ sensitive information to the highest bidder.
When this happens, your reputation is ruined and you might as well close your doors for good. Luckily, all of this can be prevented if you learn about and implement the best data security solutions that will ensure no data leaks from your company, and that nobody can breach your network in an attempt to steal sensitive information. Here’s what you need to do.
Encrypt all sensitive data
Encryption is one of the most effective ways to protect information and hide it from prying eyes and malicious intent. When you encrypt a conversation, or a file, or even a device, you are effectively transforming data into an unreadable code that requires a unique password or any type of digital key to change back into its original form. Also known as cipher text, you want to make sure that all of your company’s devices and information is encrypted to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
After all, you cannot rely on your employees to encrypt information themselves, nor can you expect them to effectively guard unencrypted data at all times. When data is encrypted on your servers and devices, you will have made the first effective step towards cyber and internal security.
Ensure constant and strict endpoint protection
Let’s focus on the devices your employees use on a daily basis, for the moment. Everything from workflow data, to sensitive customer information, all the way to personal employee info, passes through company devices such as mobile phones, PCs, and laptops. These are called endpoints, representing the devices your team members use and take with them out of the office if need be. As the manager and the administrator of these devices, you need to control how, when, and by whom these devices are used.
Aside from the software that allows you to control endpoints, you also need to have strict security policies in place that will dictate who can and cannot use certain devices. Moreover, these policies should cover all areas of security, including rules for passwords, downloads, and device locks. With this solution in place, you can begin work on your firewall infrastructure and network security.
Assume complete control of your network
As a business leader tasked with keeping your company’s private data safe, you need to implement effective firewall solutions. These should include both software and hardware systems. But most importantly, you need to assume complete control over your entire network. Growth-oriented companies have been emphasizing the use of secure web gateway solutions for this very reason in recent years, as it allows them to not only monitor the traffic within their network, but also control which sites can be accessed by their employees.
The benefits to this are numerous, especially for companies that want to maximize productivity in the workplace by limiting or eliminating access to non-business-related websites. This means employees will spend less time on distractions, but that they will also avoid landing on an unverified website and downloading something they shouldn’t. By taking control of your network, you will also be able to allocate bandwidth resources more intelligently, leading better usage and availability.
Monitor and control email content
Email correspondence is one of the most highly utilized communication channels in the business world, so naturally, large amounts of sensitive data travels via email on a daily basis to and from your company. For an experienced hacker, intercepting your emails and extracting data would be a quick and effortless task. If you implement content filtering and monitor your email correspondences, though, you can avoid and prevent these scenarios altogether.
You can use content filtering to inspect every email that goes into and out of your company’s inboxes, and identify potential threats, including unverified links, phishing scams, and more. Simply add the target keywords you want the algorithm to search for and let it scan every email and don’t forget to use it in order to find out if any of your employees are sending data they shouldn’t outside of your company.
Educate and train your employees on data security
It’s not just about the software or hardware you implement, nor is it all about how much you try to control and monitor the flow of data – you also need to educate and empower your employees to take data security into their own hands. Your team members need to know everything there is to know about the protection of sensitive information in the workplace, including how to handle emails, the types of links they can and cannot open, as well as proper device handling and more.
You can’t expect them to know all of this, rather, give them the tools and training they need to become proficient in the matter. Educate them on the dangers of data leaks, and help them combine your firewall solutions with the best practices in the field to close the loop on cybersecurity in your company.
Data protection is not a luxury or an option, rather it is an imperative for every modern business. Use these tips to take data security in your company to the next level, and provide a safe work environment for your employees in order to help your company thrive.