Keeping Data Safe: Best Practices to Prevent Data Leakage
Businesses handling personally identifiable information, such as credit card details, names, contact numbers, and addresses, are responsible for keeping customer data safe. When a data leak occurs, it can be devastating for the company. The damage, in fact, may cost an organization millions of dollars. According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach report from Security Intelligence, the worldwide average cost of a data leak is a whopping $3.92 million.
Data leakage is also a PR nightmare. Apart from making customers angry and upset about their sensitive data getting out, data leaks destroy a company’s brand, reputation, and trustworthiness. Once the proverbial cat is out of the bag, containing the damage completely is next to impossible.
Companies, therefore, should make data breach prevention a top priority. If your enterprise needs help with preventing or mitigating intentional and accidental data leaks, take note of these best practices:
Archive Old Data
Data archiving involves taking out selected data entries in an operational database and moving them to a storage unit for long-term retention. Companies can use a reliable data archiving program to securely store old, personally identifiable information.
Data archiving is an effective way to mitigate data leakage. Unlike data present in operational systems, archived data isn’t readily accessible and available. Additionally, encryption applied to the archive adds a layer of security to the stored information, preventing unauthorized individuals from seizing the data assets.
Restrict User Access
Apply a Policy of Least Privilege (POLP) to company data access. POLP is a computer security practice that limits access rights of users to the bare minimum. Rank-and-file employees, for instance, should have only minimum or basic permission levels to get the job done. If they need to access top-tier or archived data, they’ll have to ask their immediate supervisor to modify or upgrade their access rights temporarily.
With POLP, you reduce the risk of intentional data leaks. It makes leakage difficult for someone who doesn’t have ready access to data.
Create, Disseminate, and Implement Data Security Policies
Make a document that clearly defines your company’s rules on accessing and using data. The policy must outline exactly what data employees can access, how they can access it, and how they should use the accessed data. Then, post these policies on your company premises or distribute a copy of the document to all concerned employees.
Conduct Cybersecurity Training Sessions
A report from Tech Republic reveals that over 40 percent of data leaks are due to the negligence of employees. One way to minimize this problem is to educate your employees.
Everyone with access to sensitive data should undergo regular cybersecurity training to raise general security awareness. Some of the topics that should be present in the training sessions are:
- The importance of maintaining strict cybersecurity measures in the office
- Recognizing and responding to social engineering strategies
- Internet usage at work
- Tips on creating a strong password
These are just a few of the easy-to-implement strategies that can prevent or mitigate data leaks in your company. These best practices let you assure customers that you’re taking data leakage seriously.