Table of Contents:
Data protection methods
- To identify and store sensitive data
- Educate your employees
- Cybersecurity practices and policies
- Email protection and Encryption
- Data Backups
Data Privacy vs. Data Protection
The second decade of the 21st century brought massive changes to the business environment. Entire companies have moved their regular operations online and to cloud storage services. No transition is painless, so with that move comes a possible threat that someone wants to steal, harm, and corrupt your personal data. This is not just mere speculation as data breach costs continue to rise — according to the Coast of Data Breach Report that was released by IBM and the Phenomenon Institute the costs were $4.24 million in 2021. Furthermore, cybercriminals are bringing in $1.5 trillion in yearly revenue — these mind-blowing numbers are equal to the GDP of the mid-developed countries.
That is why data security and privacy protection should be a priority and an essential part of every business strategy — because these necessary activities aren’t just about the protection per se but rather about the credibility and trust that you are providing alongside your main service.
In this article, we will point out the five (best) data protection methods that can change and improve your business.
1. Personal and sensitive data identification
People often ask—what is the primary method of protecting data especially those sensitive ones? Where to start? The first few steps toward good data security should be the identification and classification of your valuable input.
This is the usual list of the most sensitive data:
- customer information
- employee data
- industry-specific data
- personal data
When you identify sensitive data, you can begin with the process of classification that can be organized into separate categories of importance. Your classification should be updated regularly because sensitive data storage is fluid and changeable, much like the business environment itself.
2. Educate your employees
Let’s try to present data protection as a big machine with lots of different components. For that machine to work properly, every single screw needs to be in the right place, and every element has to be functional. The human factor is still one of the biggest parts of our imagined data protection machine – so that element needs to work excellently every time.
Nowadays, big corporations are spending a massive amount of money on employee education. If you are a company that works with customer information in any way, then every single person in your organization should know how to recognize various types of sensitive data, basic policies, protection methods, and differences between data privacy and data protection. By training your employees, you are maximizing the protection and minimizing the possible threat to your business operation.
3. Cybersecurity practices and policies
Cybercrime is usually referred to as a $6 trillion problem because that amount of money is the exact damage that cybercrime caused in 2022, targeting the financial sector in most cases. If you want more numbers and stats, then you should know that 70% of small businesses are completely unprepared for a potential cyber threat. Also, hacking time is reduced to just 12 hours. The numbers and percentages don’t lie, and that is why careful preparation is essential.
Every organization needs to introduce newer and newer cybersecurity trends, practices, policies, protocols, and standards to protect data from being stolen. Here are some of the best practices that you should use in 2022:
- Use tougher security questions
- Enable multi-factor authentication
- Create a strong password policy
- Create a data backup
- Introduce disaster recovery protocols
- Introduce scanning tools that can filter spam mail
- Spyware protection
- Email Encryption.
4. Email protection and Encryption
No company and/or person is immune from email attacks. Cybercriminals prefer email because it is cheap and easy to use. Email is a very vulnerable segment of every business, and that is why you’ll need to be secured 24/7 because the threat is constant, and it evolves alongside protection methods.
Email encryption refers to a process of securing the encrypted data being transferred from sender to recipient. Email protection provides a confidential mode in which you can safely send and/or receive messages without a fear that the information and/or email address might be compromised by someone.
When you are using Email Encryption mode, the plain message you want to send is scrambled and converted into an unreadable format known as ciphertext. The recipient can authorize the decryption of an email and then he will be able to see a preview or download the attachment. There are two data encryption types:
- Symmetric Encryption: Encryption key and decryption one are the same
- Asymmetric Encryption: This type of data encryption is better known as public-key cryptography. In this variant, you have two related buttons – one public key and one private key to encrypt and decrypt messages
Also, you should locate the potential source of problems, or where the danger may come from. First on that hazard list should be malware and virus attacks (computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware). With the help of various malware variants, attackers can seize control of whole workstations and servers to take over sensitive data management. Spam can reduce productivity and it can serve as a transportation method for malware. Phishing can trick victims into disclosing sensitive information or it can deploy malicious programs to a system.
Once you locate the source, then you should introduce different protocols and security measures in order to be fully protected from any potential harm.
As Email Encryption is set to be one of future data protection trends in this game, we are witnessing a rise in encryption apps, plug-ins, and add-ons. But how do you choose what is best for you? If you want a tool that integrates with Outlook and Gmail, then Sealit is the right choice. Also, Sealit relies on biometric authentication, so you can forget about password management.
5. Data Backups
Numerous harmful events can result in permanent data loss, ranging from data breaches to data corruption to system failure. That is why data backups are one of the most important measures to keep your personal information safe.
If we take into consideration that even analog storage media can be a threat to data security, we can say that cloud storage is one of the great allies in data backup and recovery. You can use the cloud to backup data, i.e. to create a copy of your data and host it in a remote location—this gives you certain leverage in case your operating system is hacked.
Every company should regularly check its system backups just to ensure data loss prevention.
Data Privacy vs. Data Protection
There is a fine line between data privacy and data protection. While the first one defines who has your data access to your information, the second provides all the necessary policies and tools to restrict data access.
Data privacy can’t exist properly without data protection and vice versa. So, we can say that data privacy is more regulative and data protection strategy is more action-oriented; all employees should know the basic differences to keep their working stations safe from harm.
No matter if you are a big corporation with a massive income or just a small upcoming business, cybercriminal poses a real threat. We can see a steady and continuous rise of damage that affects everyone, no matter if they are business organizations or individuals—if we present that damage as a country, it would be the third biggest economy, right after the U.S. and China. According to Gartner Inc., by the year 2025, cyber attackers will have advanced technology that could easily harm or even kill humans—sounds like some sci-fi movie? Well, maybe for now.
What can we do to protect our data? Prioritization is the answer. Data privacy and data protection should be one of the most (if not the most) important activities of every company out there. Also, those activities should be carried out simultaneously and constantly because the threat is perpetual and could come from anywhere. The main thing you should know is that you do have significant resources at your disposal, resources that can be very helpful in the battle against this virtual menace that we know as the cybercriminal.