Data protection is at the forefront of any network security discussion. Compromised or lost data can be catastrophic to any sized organization. So how does an organization protect their data?
UPDATE SOFTWARE PATCHES – This is a simple yet important step. Every piece of software, be it home-grown or from a third-party, releases updates (patches) to that software. Whether is a functionality fix, product update, or a security patch, it is important to keep your software current, especially with security and critical patches. Hackers love outdated software.
BACKUP YOU DATA – This seems obvious, yet many companies do not have proper backup protocols in place. It is vital that you have regularly scheduled backups. Duplication and copies of critical data are always advisable. A secondary offsite backup location is also important as physical damage to the hardware could wipe out your data. Having a second location to store your information is a must (this is where a Cloud solution can be invaluable).
ANTI-VIRUS & MALWARE – Another seemingly obvious step, anti-virus software is often overlooked or installation delayed until it is too late. Smaller organizations may not have the IT support to adequately monitor if they have the correct anti-virus for their needs and if it is updated regularly. Larger companies may have a large IT staff, but could be dealing with hundreds or even thousands of employees utilizing BYOD (Bring You Own Device). It is difficult to monitor if users are updating their software and antivirus on personal devices used for work. Outdated or uninstalled Anti-Virus and Malware is an open door, leaving your network and data exposed.
EMPLOYEE EDUCATION – Employees must be advised of the dangers of a data breach. Reiterating the importance of password protection, device backups, software updates, etc. is especially crucial when a personal device is being used for business purposes.
ENCRYPTION – Though encryption can be costly and cumbersome, depending on the sensitivity of your data, you may not have a choice. There are so many news reports about companies being hacked or experiencing data corruption. A robust encryption system, especially one that encrypts data before it is saved can be the difference between a having secure network or being the lead story on the 6 o’clock news.
DATA RECOVERY PLAN – Do you have a plan in place for disaster recovery, be it natural (i.e., weather, earthquakes) or man-made (i.e., cyber-attack, terrorism). Do not presume that having backups is all you need. It is important to have a recovery plan in place in case data is ever lost or compromised.
VIGILANCE – Test your system regularly to ensure that your security measures are working. Do not presume that things are running smoothly and that your network is fully protected. Hackers are discovering new ways to invade systems every day. Human or hardware failures happen at the snap of a finger. Vigilance is vital to keeping your data and our network safe.
There are so many facets to consider when discussing data protection. We have just scratched the surface in our list above. The single greatest concern of any organization’s IT department is to ensure that data is safe and secure. Lost or compromised data is the nightmare scenario that we all work diligently to avoid. Contact Advantel Networks for more information on how we can help protect your organization’s data.