What Are the Best Practices in Data Security?
Data Security – The advent of computers and the cloud has opened up a whole new can of worms for those needing to protect their own proprietary information and any information relating to their customers. For this reason, they must be inordinately concerned with data security. Here is a quick rundown on the most important data security considerations:
The first line of defense for data security involves properly encrypting the data in the first place. Next, insist that your end-users and support team utilize appropriately secure passwords. Third, engage a security expert to evaluate your online security system and to develop an adequate firewall. In most cases, since the technology changes so rapidly, they will have some other cutting-edge suggestions for improving security measures. Finally, keep truly proprietary information that does not need to be shared in an offline venue. That way, the only way for vandals or criminals to access or destroy the info is with a physical or “phishing attack”.
While most data security threats will come from online sources, it is critical to not ignore the ones that exist in the offline world. Servers should be secured behind locked doors and access to them limited to only key personnel. In addition, a record should be kept of who accesses a server and when. In this way, an electronic trail can be followed that will establish who tampers with the data in case of a breach in security. Finally, the real key to physical security is 24/7 monitoring. There should always be a person on-site with additional monitoring provided by off-site video surveillance. Combined, these two processes provide a very secure and responsive way to protect your data and provide data recovery in a timely manner.
Acts of Nature
Fire, wind and water are three of a data center’s worst enemies—they act quickly and indiscriminately. For example, a worst case scenario to a data center is an out-of-control fire that is being inundated with copious amounts of water. Add a little wind to fan the flames and it could be hours before the data center is secured and another day before it is up and running. There is no certain protection against these acts of God, so the proper backup systems in other locations must be used. It is the only way to ensure that the data is secure and that your servers will operate on an almost uninterrupted schedule.
Whether it is a company’s proprietary financial information or pricing strategy, it is essential to keep the information out of the hands of competitors. In addition, not securing customer data can lead to a loss of confidence in the company and can be downright devastating to sales and profits. For example, both Sony and Target saw severe repercussions to their bottom lines when their firewalls were breached by hackers in 2011 and 2014. The bottom line? It is imperative to connect directly with customers via online experiences but this exposes data threats. As a result, a company must be prepared to devote the proper resources—both monetary and staff—to secure it.
Most importantly, none of this can be accomplished on an ad hoc or as-needed basis. A comprehensive strategy needs to be developed beforehand and then implemented in a conscientious and thorough manner. The right business systems—that are best-in-class for both data security and customer experiences—are integral to this approach.
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