Simple Steps to Secure Your Organisational Data in 2022
Date: 27 September 2022
When it comes to safeguarding your company's data, you need a foolproof game plan. That should include everything from encrypting confidential files to securing a VPN for all company devices and also securing the data of those working with you and for you. But that's not also, you also need a good cybersecurity policy and a cyber incident response plan that defines how you should respond in case you get attacked.
With the rampant rise in cyber-attacks in 2022, it is imperative that every business pay serious attention to its cybersecurity infrastructure as well as cybersecurity policies and ransomware attack readiness.
You'll need to follow a few rules to keep your business data safe and keep your employees' digital safety in mind. You can also look at opting for our Virtual Cyber Assistant service that can help you improve your organisational cybersecurity maturity over time in a cost-effective way.
Why should businesses care about safeguarding their data?
If you are in business, you probably already know that it’s imperative to keep your organisational data safe as well as protect the sensitive information of your customers and employees. Not only is this often a legal requirement (such as for businesses that come under the purview of the GDPR), it is also important for your brand reputation and business continuity. A cyber-attack or ransomware attack on your business can have a crippling effect on your business operations and can often mean several days of lost revenue with severe future implications too.
Here are some more reasons why you must put the sanctity of your business data as a top priority:
- If you transmit or store any type of information –no matter how sensitive– you might be held liable in a court of law if someone else illegally uses that data. If you accidentally send out confidential information on your company's products, then someone in the public domain could potentially use it to create a counterfeit copy and sell that product for a high profit. This can damage your bottom line and also dilute your brand value.
- Building on the previous point, protecting digital safety clearly also gives a competitive advantage to your organisation. If you're worried about your competitors finding out about innovations and improvements for your products or services, then it's critical to keep your information safe.
- Safeguarding your company's data is an act of self-preservation. The information stored in your digital assets is potentially worth more to your organisation than the money it would cost to protect it. This is why it is advisable to regularly conduct assessments such as a simple Cyber Health Check, a Ransomware Risk Assessment or a Breach Readiness Assessment. These assessments can help you evaluate where your business currently stands in terms of cybersecurity maturity and what you need to do to improve it.
A Virtual Cyber Assistant can help you conduct these assessments and also work with you on flexible terms for improving the areas where you might need help.
What Kind of Data Do You Need to Protect?
Any piece of sensitive information that your organisation holds - whether it is personal data or information on technology innovations - is a precious asset to be protected at all costs. For example, if your company makes pharmaceuticals or medical devices, then the research and development department handles a trove of secrets that others would love to exploit.
It can include new drug formulae, test results on competitor drugs, or even information that proves that your company has produced a dangerous product. On top of this, employees in accounting handle highly confidential financial data related to revenue streams and costs. If a rogue employee leaks this information it can have serious consequences for your company’s financial performance and even stock value.
Further, any kind of corporate data that is even remotely related to your company's public presence is always at risk. For example, if your company has a blog or social media page, then the people managing it should follow stringent guidelines to keep it free of confidential information. A leak on a blog can be just as devastating as one in the media.
Finally, always include the human element in your organisation's digital strategy and cybersecurity policy. Every day you'll hear about companies that have been hacked or had their secrets stolen due to a small mistake by an employee who was unknowingly careless with their privileged credentials. The most recent case in which a similar mistake occurred is the recent Uber hack.
If you want to keep your company safe from these kinds of incidents, then you need to train all of your employees on how to protect your data from any theft threats and, more importantly, how to keep it from being used in a way that can harm your organisation. Investing in high-quality cybersecurity training for employees can play a significant role here.
Simple Tips to Boost Your Organisational Data Safety
If by now you fully understand the extent of damage that a cyber-attack or a data leak can cause to your business, you’re probably already thinking of investing in expert cybersecurity assistant services and/or hiring an expert to review your cybersecurity maturity, incident response plans etc.
However, in the meanwhile, here are a few basic steps you can undertake to boost your organisational cyber resilience.
- Implement monitoring to detect abnormal behaviour. One way to do this is by using a cloud-based service that can detect suspicious activity like unusual login activity, IP addresses accessed from unknown locations, etc.
- Establish restricted network zones and install firewalls at critical points in your organisation's networks. These should be monitored for anomalies like new users connecting from outside the company or sensitive software being downloaded on company-owned devices from external sources such as the internet or intranets.
- Make sure access to proprietary data is restricted and secured and use multiple layers of encryption.
- When installing any new software, especially that which is not considered a "standard-issue" or "approved" tool, make sure there are no side effects to the data or the company's networks and systems.
- To prevent users from mistakenly sending out confidential information, such as credit card numbers in emails when they don't mean to, make sure employees are trained on the 'What You See Is What You Send' approach.
- Follow 'two-step' authentication for all user logins. This will ensure that unauthorised users do not gain access to private corporate data or your company's network.
- Ensure employees are protected by firewalls on their computers and mobile devices to prevent unauthorised access while they're working on the go.
- Use anti-virus software; update it when necessary, and ensure it is regularly scanned for malicious software, as well as disinfected periodically to ward off threats.
- Use encryption. It's not just the fastest and most secure way to protect sensitive data, but it also will help prevent any unauthorised access or loss of information for any establishments.
- Periodically test security controls, and ensure that employees are trained in how to best use them because ultimately they're responsible for overall organisational security.
As you can see, digital security is not only huge in terms of monetary value but also the impact that it has on an organisation's reputation. Companies must protect their data and information against cyber-attacks because if they are leaked, the repercussions are massive.
You must also have a sound strategy for responding to cyber-attacks. The truth of the day is that sooner or later most organisations could and will be compromised. It makes sense to prepare for such an eventuality and sensitise your staff about it too.