A company’s data stands as an essential core component of doing modern business. It identifies who clients are, the products and services they use and sensitive account information associated with these clients. Alternatively, data represents ideas that are a key to how a company obtains and maintains a competitive edge in their given industry. This could include product models, research and design statistics and other forms of market analysis. No matter what the function of data happens to be within a company, it is of the utmost importance to protect sensitive data from being leaked to hackers and third party competitors. When a company develops a comprehensive plan to protect its sensitive data from being leaked, a number of data security-related ideas need to be carefully considered.
Who Has Permission to Access Data
The first thing to consider, when it comes to securing company data, is the question of which employees should be granted access to a company’s data. Just because a person works for a company, that does not mean they should have easy access to the most sensitive data the company possesses. According to CIO, internal data leaks caused by disgruntled employees tops the list of the six most detrimental business-related security risks. If an employee does not appear to be trustworthy, chances are they are a likely candidate for inciting an internal data leak. For this reason, it never hurts to establish methods to continually assess and identify what employees can be trusted with which types of company data and which employees cannot be trusted with said data.
Internal Data Protection Methods
Because internal data leaks are so common, this is one area where companies should never be slack. A variety of methods may be employed to slash leak risks. These include, but are not limited to, designing in passwords that only gives an employee access to a specific level of data clearance, restricting financial and account-based information to a limited number of terminals to reduce broad access to employees and camera-based monitoring of computer use for tracking employee use of company data. The more a company restricts and monitors data access, even when it involves data use by its own employees, the less of a risk exists for a serious data breach.
Removing Old Data From the System
Often old sensitive client information, for example, resides on a company server, hard drive, or other storage device. Even if the company has no further use for this data, keeping it around long term only serves to invite an unnecessary data breach that could potentially do harm to a client. Employing the use of software and hardware based methods of erasing old data becomes an effective way to eliminate unnecessary sensitive data breaches.
The Encryption Obstacle
Whether a data leak is internal or external, it is generally best to use some type of modern encryption technique to protect data being leaked from being easily understood. According to this source, modern encryption methods provide more than simply a way to obscure the data being stored or moved about online. These encryption methods also provide three other key attributes to data security.
Data Authentication: When data is properly encrypted, it will both secure the data and identify the source of the data. This way, when data is received, the data is identified as coming from a proper source, rather than a malicious source.
Data Integrity: Modern encryption methods also concern themselves with securing the data’s integrity. This means that the message being stored or sent contains encrypted clues that helps a user know if the data has been tampered with or not.
Non-repudiation: Because a data leak can occur in transit, encryption methods strive to ensure Non-repudiation. This means that the sender of the data cannot argue that the data came from anyone other than themselves; thus, making the source even more verifiable.
Data resides at the heart of most successful modern businesses. Keeping a company’s data secure is a must for any company operating in the modern business world. From granting access to company data to proper encryption of data, every angle of data security needs to be thought out well in advance in order to successfully prevent data leaks along the way.