3 Data Security Tips You Can Implement On Your Business Network Right Now
Most businesses lack robust security strategies, which leaves their data vulnerable to attacks. Cyber security is crucial to the well-being of your organization since you need to protect your financial records, trade secrets and employee records. A breach in your network security could lead to financial and reputational damages.
What is Data Security?
Network security refers to the practices and processes that protect your data from data corruption and unauthorized access. It includes data encryption, tokenization, hashing and critical management practices designed to protect data across platforms.
Adequate cyber security uses various controls, techniques and applications to identify the values of the various datasets and apply the necessary security measures. It also takes into account the sensitive nature of the various datasets and their regulatory compliance requirements. Of course, cyber security is not the ultimate security measure for protecting your data. Still, it’s one of the various ways for evaluating threats and reducing the risk of data handling and storage.
Importance of Network Security
Network security is crucial to your business, and it benefits your business in several ways. As a business, you have the moral and legal obligation to protect your customer and user data from being accessed by unauthorized personnel. It would help if you also protected the reputation of the business. Cyber security can help prevent hacks or data breach that can damage your reputation. You end up losing a lot of money and clients if there is a high-profile hack or breach.
Network Security Checklist
When you properly understand the value of network security in your business, you will be able to come up with a plan to protect your data. There are several cyber security controls that help your business protect data.
Authentication and authorization are critical controls for protecting your data against hacks. First, it helps to verify whether a user’s credentials match the ones in the database. Authentication technology has progressed, and now it includes a combination of PINS, passwords, biometrics, swipe cards or security tokens. This technology also determines the authenticated user’s data and what they don’t have access to.
2. Backups and Recovery
Network security requires you to plan how your business can recover client’s data in case there is a breach, system failure, data corruption or disaster. Data backup involves making a copy of your data and finding a separate medium or system to store it. Then, in the unfortunate event, you lose your data, you can recover it using your backup, which can be a disk or in the cloud.
Data encryption improves network security by turning regular text into encrypted ciphertext using a cipher and an encryption key. This makes the data unreadable to unauthorized personnel, and only a user with an authorized key can decrypt the data. Encryption is mainly used to protect data during storage or when exchanging it between mobile devices, database and the cloud. Therefore, it is crucial that you manage your encryption keys securely. You can do this by having a secure off-site encryption backup, protecting your critical management systems and restricting access.
4. Data masking
Data masking involves hiding data by obscuring numbers and letters with proxy characters. The data will remain behind the masking, and when an authorized use receives the data, the software reverts it to its original form.
Tokenization replaces sensitive data with random characters that are algorithmically irreversible. It is almost the same concept with encryption, but here the key between the data and the token values is kept in a protected database lookup table. The token representing the real data is substituted across different systems, and the actual information is stored separately in a protected platform.
6. Deletions and erasure
Erasure helps to overwrite data that is no longer needed by the business and clears it from the system completely, making it irretrievable. On the other hand, deletion hides data that can then be retrieved later.
Elements of Network Security
There are three main elements to network security, including integrity, confidentiality and availability. Confidentiality means only authorized users with the right credentials can access the data. Integrity ensures the data stored is accurate, reliable and not prone to unwarranted changes. Finally, availability ensures that the data is safe and readily accessible for daily business needs.
Data Security Tips to Implement on Your Business
Cover the Basics
It is crucial that you are aware of where your data is being stored at all times. You should appoint a knowledgeable person to take the lead, whether in-house or outsourced. Some of the basic levels of protection include antivirus, firewall management and anti-malware software.
When installing a firewall, you must choose one the matches the scope and size of your business. This is crucial to your network security since it helps to eliminate loopholes that hackers may use to breach your business and access your data. In addition, a strong firewall will boost your network security by deterring hackers looking for weak targets.
After setting up a firewall, you need to set up a VPN as well. A VPN helps to hide your data and activity when accessing the internet via an encrypted tunnel. This will protect you from anyone trying to spy on you, especially remote workers who are vulnerable to remote access risks.
Installing antivirus software helps you to eliminate malware, adware and viruses that a hacker can use to access your data or cause damage. It also helps to detect and prevent any malicious program from infecting your system.
You can also implement pen testing or IT penetration testing. This test involves hacking into your own system, searching for any vulnerabilities that hackers can use to breach your system. You can perform a network test on your network devices and host network to expose as many vulnerabilities as possible. After concluding the test, you should have a report that highlights all the problematic access points. It should also contain suggestions for software and hardware changes that are needed to improve your cyber security.
Train and Monitor Your Employees
It is crucial that you educate your staff on the importance of cyber security. You can start by creating a strategic plan for the security awareness training program. Employees should be trained on how to reduce risks. It also motivates to put the guidelines into practice. You can teach them physically or online. The training should include a phishing test and digital security best practices.
When hiring new employees, you can carry on background checks to look for previous criminal convictions. You can also inspect contracts between service providers and technology vendors to determine how they handle cyber security and follow regulations. Companies that will have access to customer data should have strong network security and backup procedures.
Ensure that you enforce physical security in your business. For example, if a person with malicious intent gets access to a computer, they can penetrate your network or install Trojan software. You can monitor who enters the office through restricted door access such as personal key cards. This should also include external service providers such as maintenance and cleaning.
Keep Your Infrastructure Up-to-date
Updating is a crucial network security measure that most people overlook. Having the latest security updates keep your software relevant and your machines clean. You can set reminders for updates so that you can have the latest version of the web browser, security software and operating system. This is one of the best defense measures in cyber security against malware, viruses and other online threats. In addition, you can run antivirus software after each update to check your machine.
You should also update your hardware and infrastructure to avoid having vulnerabilities that software updates cannot solve. It’s crucial that you stay up to date with the latest technological development by updating your hardware every two to three years to improve your protection. When disposing of old hardware, ensure that you remove and destroy storage devices such as hard drives. This also includes removable media such as DVDs, USBs and CDs.
Ensure you have a ready backup and recovery plan. Most people forget to back up their data as they schedule for later and forget about it. Backing up data will ensure that you are always prepared since you can still be breached even with secure network security. You should plan early before disaster strikes and test it to ensure it’s full proof.
Backing up all your business data and documents can save you a lot of inconveniences and frustrations in the long run. Some of the critical data you should back up include human resource files, Word processing documents, financial files, electronic spreadsheets, accounting files and databases. It is recommended you back up your files at least once a week. Back up files can be kept securely at an off-site facility or on the cloud.
Network security is an ongoing management process that you need to monitor and update so it can remain effective constantly. Ensure you keep accurate records and carry out regular tests to identify areas that require improvements. Frequent testing and updating your security controls will protect you from any attacks.