At this point, it’s impossible to ignore the considerable threat data breaches pose to businesses around the world. A quick Google News search brings up millions of results topped by headlines about companies facing lawsuits and fines because their data was compromised. “No locale, industry or organization is bulletproof when it comes to the compromise of data,” states Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, which focuses on incidents that impacted organizations in 82 countries across all industries.
Becoming the victim of a data breach could cost your business in multiple ways. For the private sector overall, there’s a 10% likelihood that the annualized business impact resulting from data breaches will exceed $2.4 million, according to the Aberdeen Group. Additionally, an incident that results in the exposure or theft of sensitive information could hurt your reputation in the eyes of both current and prospective customers.
The need for all businesses to address data security is clear. However, if you realize your company’s data is at risk, how can you maximize the effectiveness of your plan to secure it and reduce the odds of a breach as much as possible? If you want to implement a robust data protection program, you should start your IT security discussion by asking yourself the following questions, according to the Aberdeen Group.
1. How much data do you have to protect? The first step to securing sensitive information is knowing how much of it you’re actually handling.
2. Where is your data stored? Once you know what you’re dealing with, you have to account for where it’s housed. Businesses need to take steps to secure all of their data, both on- and off-premises.
3. How many locations do you have? Businesses that have multiple locations and/or leverage data centers for their applications or infrastructure will need to include these items in the discussion.
4. How do you send and share data? Businesses typically have multiple methods of sending and sharing information, and some of them typically aren’t secure. Do you send and share your info through email, USB, or a collaboration tool such as Dropbox or Box?
5. Who can access the data? Another key foundational element of safeguarding data is ensuring you know who can access it, in addition to their typical access patterns.
6. Do you allow your staff to access data from any device? If you do, then you’re opening up the security discussion to include those devices.
7. Have you established clear data handling policies? Your organization can’t achieve maximum data security without universally instituting guidelines for handling specific types of information. Getting everyone on the same page is crucial if your business wants to minimize the risk of a breach.
8. What does your insurance company require? Each year as cyber-attacks get more intelligent, insurance companies add more requirements for additional coverage options and minimum benchmarks.
If you’d like more guidance after answering these questions, our expert team at Stratosphere Networks can provide you with information about data security. We offer extensive data protection solutions – such as secure VPN, spam filtering, and more – for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. To learn more, contact us today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.