Data Security Best Practices

Data security is the process of creating protective safeguards to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. It covers a wide variety of actions, from encryption of emails and files to observing access to data and systems. It also includes safeguarding physical devices that hold sensitive information like USB flash drive and mobile and desktop computer. Data security best practices include using strong passwords, restricting access to data to authorized users, and the use of multifactor authentication to protect sensitive data.

Businesses that fail to safeguard the data of their customers will lose business. According to a recent study 75% of people will stop buying from a business when they feel it doesn’t respect their privacy. Businesses also risk from legal consequences if they fail to not have a proper security system for data.

Despite the widespread use of encryption, a lot of security experts don’t see it as as a primary method of protecting data from hackers. Although encryption can decrease the capability of a malicious attacker to exploit compromised data however, it doesn’t prevent the theft of data to commit fraud or to target other networks and organisations.

A good first step for companies seeking to safeguard their data is to create and keep a data inventory which categorizes data based on its sensitivity, use scenario and accessibility requirements. Then, a business can create a security procedure that imposes restrictions on who can access which data and what the consequences are for violating the policy.

Another method to safeguard data is through routinely backing to it, either on disk or in the cloud. These backups can be retrieved in the case of data loss or hacking. Software tools, including replication, mirroring, cloning snapshots, tracked changes to blocks, are also becoming more popular to offer additional layers of data protection and recovery.

Data security starts with ensuring that only authorized users can access it. This can be accomplished by requiring users to authenticate with something they already know (e.g. an account number) or with something they possess (e.g. a security token or biometrics) or both. This is known as multi-factor verification and is a vital component of any data security plan.

Additionally, it is important to keep a routine of regularly updating your software programs to patch weaknesses and improve data protection. This will not only keep your computers running smoothly, but it also helps ensure that your data is safe from cyberattacks.

Data breaches can be catastrophic for clients and businesses. Beyond the financial costs of restoring compromised systems, criminals are able to use personal data to commit identity theft or blackmail, which has life-altering consequences for people and their families. Data breaches can be costly for companies, too, as they often are in the center of headlines in the news and public embarrassment.

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