data security

5 Ways to Enhance Data Security and Why It Is Important

A vast number of processes ‘digitally’ managed through cloud-based platforms store a huge amount of data online. Failure to secure and protect the data can have a devastating effect on any organization. It is, therefore, important for businesses to have a strong and reliable data security policies and plan in place.

The Real Importance of Data Security – GDPR and Beyond

Investing time and money in creating data security initiatives to protect classified and private data is the foremost goal for most businesses.

Data security concerns go beyond the IT industry. Any business that in any manner uses or stores any form of data online must focus on securing every bit of that information. That data can be sensitive information pertaining to the business or its customers/clients.

Data security risks such as leaks, breaches, and theft can have dire consequences for the organization and everyone associated with it. However, direct misuse of the information against the business or its customers isn’t the only risk lurking in the shadow of a feeble data security. With the recently imposed regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the cost of failure has magnified for every organization. The regulation forced businesses to review, refine, and redefine their data security strategies and policies overnight.

GDPR, however, isn’t the only data security regulation in place. Other industry-specific regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) have further pushed the envelope. Stringent audits and heavy fines have made non-compliance the worst nightmare.

Organizations should focus on improving their data security initiatives to prevent the misuse of sensitive data. Doing so can help you avoid compliance issues.

The following are five ways to enhance data security across the organization.

 

1. Secure the IT Infrastructure

Organizations need a firm infrastructure to build the foundation of a strong and resilient data security plan. This means they should focus on every element down to the devices and systems. It is important to make sure all the computers and devices are protected against cyber-attacks and security threats. The IT team must update the systems with the latest operating systems, anti-virus and filtering software. There should be a configured firewall in place to prevent any kind of external attacks on the network.

The organization must ensure that every software installed on the computer is up to date. Newer versions of the software include security patches that protect against newly developed attacks and threats.

 

2.Secure Mobile Devices

The use of mobile devices prevails across organizations. Even in the healthcare industry, organizations are going mobile to facilitate patients and employees. It is important to understand that once a device is allowed to access the data, it becomes part of the same infrastructure. Organizations must ensure that all mobile users are using secure devices. Make sure all employee devices, remote or not, use local data encryption and power-on passwords.

Employee devices can be configured to always use protected wireless connections whether they are at work, home, or public places.

 

3.    Take a Proactive Approach

Security risks can hit an organization when least expected. Therefore, it is important to stay on the watch with a vigilant monitoring software. There should be a pre-planned policy that covers risk monitoring and mitigation. Organizations should treat risk as something that is bound to happen. All the potential risks should be identified before a monitoring and mitigation plan is created.

A proactive approach allows the organization to detect the possibility of an attack in most cases. While it prepares the organization to prevent such attacks in most cases, it can also help them limit the impact in case the attack was successful.

 

4.    Use Stronger Passwords

Attackers are just one password away from any network. Organizations must implement password related policies at work. Easy to guess passwords such as a simple alphabetical or numeric password shouldn’t be allowed. Employees must be required to change their passwords after a specific time period.

One of the most efficient ways to secure access is to replace the regular passcode option with a biometric or behavioral password. Such passwords are hard to crack because they are almost impossible to recreate.

 

5.    Take Audits Seriously

A data security plan is not complete without regular audits. Adding to the proactive approach, audits allow organizations to identify loopholes in the current strategy. Data collected in a post-attack audit can help understand the shortcomings that lead to the breach. That information can prove vital in the development of a stronger data security plan and more effective data security policies.

Organizations should conduct regular audits to enhance compliance and eliminate risks. The data must be stored and maintained for future reference.

 

Conclusion

Optimum data security and compliance can only be achieved through a ‘security first’ culture across the organization. No matter the industry, security should be treated as the number one priority and all employees must be trained and educated accordingly. It is only through continuous efforts that an organization can achieve a sustainable level of resilience.

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