In the business world, data is vital. It’s what companies use to conduct day-to-day business, make informed decisions, stay competitive, and understand their customers. Protecting that data is essential to maintaining operations in the event of a catastrophe, and it’s something that every business needs to take seriously.
Data breaches are one of the most costly and damaging events a business can face. Not only can they lose customers and revenue as a result, but they also have to worry about the ramifications of sensitive information being compromised. Protecting your business data from catastrophic loss is essential to ensuring that you don’t pay a high price for your negligence. According to a recent study, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million.
Data breaches make the headlines, but businesses lose data for other reasons too. Natural disasters, equipment failures, and user mistakes can all lead to data loss. Disasters such as hurricanes and floods can damage or destroy company equipment, including servers and hard drives. Equipment failures can also result in data loss. Hard drives can crash, servers can overheat, and tapes can break. User mistakes account for a significant percentage of data losses. People accidentally delete files, format disks, and send emails with sensitive information to the wrong person.
Businesses need to have plans in place to protect their vital data and deal with data loss from all of these causes. Here are some ways your business can minimize the risk and impact of a data-related disaster.
Data backup and recovery
A data breach or catastrophic loss can have severe or even fatal consequences for businesses. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, 43 percent of small companies that suffer a data loss go out of business within six months. That’s why it’s critical to have a plan for backing up and recovering your data in case of disaster.
In the early days of computing, backups were a simple affair. A user could save files on a floppy diskette or a tape backup drive. With the rise of terabytes-sized storage, backup has become more complicated. Now, users must choose from various backup storage media and create a strategy that works for them. There are many ways to back up your data, including online backup services, external hard drives, and cloud storage.
One common backup storage strategy is the 3-2-1 approach. This approach recommends that users have three copies of their data, two on different media types and one off-site. For example, a user might keep their original data on their computer’s hard drive, save a copy to an external hard drive, and save the third copy to a cloud service. If their computer’s hard drive fails, they will still have access to their data by using one of the other copies.
Choosing a backup method that fits your needs and budget is essential. Once you have a backup plan in place, you need to test it regularly to ensure it’s working correctly. Be sure to keep your backups up-to-date so you can recover quickly if disaster strikes. Develop procedures for recovering from a data breach or loss, and test your recovery plan to verify it works as intended.
Security hardware and software
Various hardware and software solutions are available to help keep your computer and data safe from unauthorized access or theft. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones come with built-in security features, such as fingerprint readers or facial recognition software that can be used to lock the device and protect your data. In addition, several software programs can help protect your computer from viruses and malware, including antivirus software, firewalls, and encryption programs.
It is not uncommon for businesses to track when their data is accessed or copied. This is done to monitor how employees use company information and prevent unauthorized access or copying. One way to do this is by using access logging tools, which create a log of when specific files are accessed. This can help determine whether certain employees are abusing their privileges or if confidential data has been copied without authorization.
Use a firewall to block unauthorized connections and keep your data safe. Most people think of firewalls as a way to block unauthorized access to their computers, and they would be right. However, firewalls can do much more than that. Firewalls can also be used to block websites that contain malware or viruses, helping to keep your computer safe from harm. A firewall can defend your business by blocking unauthorized access to your business’s data repositories, such as databases, storage arrays, and other data management systems. Proactive use of a firewall provides superior defense and is much better than simply relying on antivirus software.
Physical security is an often overlooked but essential part of data security. Physical security measures protect your data from physical threats, such as theft or destruction. These threats can come from insiders or outsiders and can occur anywhere from the office to on the road. Physical security measures include locked doors, fences, alarm systems, and video surveillance.
Is your server closet secure, or can anyone access it? In many offices and businesses, a server closet is a place that is often forgotten about when it comes to physical security. This can be a big mistake, as anyone can easily access these closets and thereby access the company’s servers and data. You need to ensure that your server closet or room is physically secure. This means using locks on the doors and ensuring that no one can access the closet without authorization.
Can anyone remove physical storage media from your business? This is an example of poor physical security. To ensure the safety of your business’s physical storage media, it is crucial to have proper physical security measures in place. Unfortunately, there are still ways for unauthorized individuals to remove storage media from your business, so you may consider restricting access to removable media devices such as CD/DVD and tape drives and disabling support for USB storage devices.
While physical security cannot prevent all possible attacks, it can deter opportunistic thieves and provide evidence in the event of a crime. It is also important to remember that physical security is only one part of an overall data security strategy.
Employees need to be aware of the importance of protecting company data and understand their role in keeping data assets safe. Employees can access a range of sensitive business data, such as customer information, financial records, and intellectual property. All employees should receive training on how to protect this information. This training should include essential skills such as recognizing a phishing email, what to do if you suspect a data breach has occurred, and proper disposal of confidential information.
Cybersecurity is an important part of any business and employees should be trained to protect the company’s data. Training should be done regularly to keep employees updated on the latest threats. Cybersecurity training can include learning about malicious files and emails, creating strong passwords, and what to do if they think their account has been compromised. Employees should also be aware of the company’s policies for handling sensitive data.
There are many ways for employers to provide cybersecurity and data security training to their employees. One way is to send employees to a training course offered by a cybersecurity or data security company. Alternatively, employers can have an in-house cybersecurity or data security expert provide training. Another option is to subscribe to online training modules that employees can complete at their own pace. Finally, employers can distribute articles, videos, or other resources to help employees learn how to protect themselves and the company’s data.
Nearly every business will experience a data loss incident at some point. Whether it’s a natural disaster, theft, or accidental deletion, data loss can be costly and damaging to a business. There are a few steps you can take to protect your business data and minimize the impact of a disaster: take regular backups of your important data and store them in multiple locations; employ robust physical security and cybersecurity measures to protect data from unauthorized access; educate employees for data and cybersecurity awareness; have an emergency response plan and a disaster recovery plan. Taking these precautions can help ensure that your business will weather any storm.