Data Security Checklist to Help you Rise Above Security Breaches

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Do you want your organisation to get media attention for all the wrong reasons? Of course not, and here is one way in which you can avoid that; by protecting your data from potential security breaches.

Data protection and security is a concern which will constantly require your attention. A data breach can cause irreversible damage to your organisation’s reputation if your organisation’s sensitive and personal information were to fall into the wrong hands.

These and many other considerations are the reasons why minute attention should be given to data protection and security. After all, this is the time for you to identify whether your organisation and all its information are securely protected or not.

The following data protection checklist is worth considering:

Structure your data: The two fundamentals of data protection are complete awareness regarding what data you have and where exactly it resides. Unorganised data storage affects the work flow at your organisation and also increases the risk of data loss. Create a structure; a work flow that guides as to how and where all the information can be located. And while talking about data, keep in mind where both physical and electronic data is being utilised.

Assess and treat associated data risk: Understand the risks that your organisation will face in the event that your confidential information falls into the wrong hands. This awareness will assist your efforts in creating a methodology in protecting and storing data. A simple assessment is required, through which you will be able to identify all of the hazards throughout the journey of the information life cycle. Once that is established, it will be easier to ensure that all the data is protected in a secure and compliant way.

  • Firstly, it is always better to ensure that you are prepared in the event of a catastrophe by having in place a disaster recovery and continuity plan.
  • This could include a programme whereby server data is backed-up onto tapes and then the tapes stored at protected and external archive center, or;
  • Backup servers utilising cloud storage. This is especially useful for data retrieval when required urgently.

Set permissions for access: Control what it is that you require when the concern is access of sensitive information. You can make access to such data user-information based, where you get to control who has access the data depending on department and job descriptions. And review these permissions from time to time. This will assist you to model the organisation’s internal security policies.

Be aware of statutory retention periods: The complexities surrounding organisation laws and regulation are constantly on the rise and so are the penalties if you are found to violate them. It is therefore important that you keep a close eye on the “statutory retention period” for each item of data.

All for one, one for all: With the support of the management team, create and communicate your organisation’s information security policies and practices. Consequently, proper risk assessment will help you to demonstrate the probable information risks and how to appropriately mitigate compliance and security breaches.

Train staff: Your organisation’s staff will require regular, updated and adequate training in terms of internal data security. They should be able to apply what they learn while they handle the organisation’s sensitive data. Although it is the employees who are the biggest risk factor when it comes to data malpractice, it is possible to train them in such a way that they instead become the best defense mechanism your organisation has when it comes to data protection.

Expertise: Whenever you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. A number of organisations are out there to help you with the information security requirements of your organisation.

This checklist, though not the final word, can be your mantra. Starting with these basics can save your organisation from loss of data and potential data breaches.