7 Ways to Prevent Data Loss in your Company
- by Eric Elikplim Dorvlo
- Updated August 12, 2021
Many organizations rely on technology to perform business operations and store important information. Data protection, therefore, is a critical element of business success.
Data loss, whether from accidental user error, malicious malware attack, or even fire can have severe consequences on both your business continuity and your bottom line.
Cybercrime is a major threat to so many businesses.
The problem is so extensive that it has been predicted cybercrime will cost businesses across the world more than $6 trillion annually by 2021.
But, how do we prevent these threats?
In this post, we’ll look at how to prevent data loss in your organization.
What is data loss prevention?
Data loss prevention is a set of tools and best practices an organization uses to keep sensitive data from being lost, stolen, or misused by unauthorized users.
Although it is commonly used to protect from internal or external threats by attackers, it can also be used to prevent employees from simply losing or misplacing confidential information. An essential part of data loss prevention is hiring trustworthy employees and training them on cybersecurity best practices.
Admittedly, this is the most difficult component and it is the hardest to control. Studies show that 37% of security breaches are attributed to human error.
You can have all the right policies in place, but it will ultimately be useless without protecting the people in your organization or properly employee education.
Train your employees frequently on cybersecurity best practices to avoid incidents.
Creating a culture of cybersecurity is essential so that everyone understands that they play a role in the company’s protection.
Regular data back up
Backup is crucial for data protection. A regular data backup—preferably daily or weekly—saves your important files from inevitable data loss situations due to common events such as system crash, malware infection, hard drive corruption and failure, etc.
According to a survey by BackBlaze, the percentage of users who back up their data has increased steadily from 65% in 2008 to 76% in 2018. However, 43% of users still rely on yearly backups.
The frequency of backups is very important. You can decide the backup frequency based on the importance of data or how often new files are added or updated on the system.
You can also opt for BaaS. Backup as a Service (BaaS) connects systems to an outside provider who provides private, public, or hybrid cloud services.
This is instead of performing backups with a centralized, on-premise solution. Organizations may prefer to use a BaaS solution when they have outgrown their legacy storage backup, instead of doing a costly upgrade, or possibly if they are lacking resources for an on-premise backup.
Sensitive data labels
Sensitivity labels add extra security to confidential data
Not all data requires the same amount of security. For example, a spreadsheet containing information about revenue growth during a specific quarter requires tighter security than a document containing office gym hours. With Microsoft’s security sensitivity labels, you’re able to customize the amount of security for every piece of content within your system.
Sensitivity labels are stored within the metadata of specific content or data. As data moves throughout your organization, the label travels with it, ensuring no unauthorized users can view, edit, or send private or confidential data.
Enforce strict password protocols
Since external threats typically exploit businesses’ cybersecurity weaknesses to gain unauthorized access to data, your entire organization needs to follow the best password-protection practices as part of your data protection strategy. This is especially vital for any documents that contain sensitive or confidential data.
Coach everyone in your company to use complex passwords with multifactor authentication, and they should regularly change their passwords. Some other security measures to consider are IP address permissions and time restrictions.
Update your software
A responsible brand treats every aspect of its workflow with great consideration. This refers even to those small annoying tasks such as updating software that is used regularly. Software updates are a valuable line of defense against cyberattacks as they contain fixes for both core features and vulnerabilities to the latest hacking methods.
Want an example? When the notorious Equifax data breach happened, more than 140 million people had their addresses, credit reports, and social security numbers exposed. Equifax had a fix for a vulnerability in its web application available through updates two months before this cyber attack took place.
Update your hardware
Hardware vulnerabilities can cost your business.
A hardware vulnerability is an exploitable weakness in a computer system that enables attack through remote or physical access to system hardware.
According to a 2019 report by Dell, 63% of organizations said they had experienced at least one data breach in the past year due to a hardware security vulnerability.
Office equipment, like any appliance or piece of machinery, is subject to wear and tear. Over time, these old assets work less efficiently and can become a major cyber-security risk.
Taking your computer or laptop for a regular preventive maintenance check-up or doing a total upgrade might be one of the most potent ways to prevent data loss. Finding out what parts of your computer and system require repair or maintenance will save you the trouble of having to recover files if they get lost.
Digitize your documents
As your business progresses from a startup to an established business, the volume of paper documents grows exponentially, and that stockpiled paperwork wastes space and is difficult to manage. One solution is to digitize everything.
Look for a service that allows you to set permission restrictions on certain files because this lets you control which employees have access to certain documents. Additionally, a system that stores your documents in the cloud is ideal because users can access files from any device with an internet connection – an especially important functionality for businesses with remote employees.
The best document management software allows your team to work and collaborate seamlessly. You shouldn’t have to use multiple programs to manage your paperless documents.