It is not easy to keep data safe in today’s digital world. However, with the right software, team, and strategy, it is super easy. If a company’s data is not secure, its systems can be hacked, and that can lead to losses and irreparable damages.
In the recent past, we have seen many cases of hacking. Capital One is one of the companies that hackers got into their systems, and gained access to personal information such as names, date of birth, credit scores, addresses and more sensitive information of their customers. Also, Stratford City Hall was forced to pay $75000 in Bitcoins to a hacker.
Many other cases have been reported in the US and other parts of the world. But, what can businesses as well as individuals do to secure their data? First, it is crucial for companies and government organizations to perform IT security audits. This helps to identify and fill gaps in their cybersecurity. To learn more about how to secure sensitive data, here are the steps.
1. Take Stock of Personal Information in Files and Computer(s)
The first step of securing sensitive data is assessing the personal information you have in physical files as well as devices such as computers and phones. In this step, management, as well as IT experts in the business or organization, should identify who has access to it.
Furthermore, identifying the kind of information is highly essential. The data can range from Social Security Numbers, financial information to other sensitive data that hackers use to commit fraud or theft. With the help of sales employees, human resource office, accounting staff, IT personnel, and outside service providers of your business, this step will be easy.
2. Sort the Data, and Keep Only What is Needed for Business
After taking stock of the data a business has, it is essential to sort it. Keeping personal information that you don’t need is not a wise thing. Therefore, personal information that a business doesn’t need should be disposed of. However, sensitive data that the business needs should be secured.
Social Security Numbers, customers’ credit cards information, among other personal details, are the targets for hackers. Therefore, if your business doesn’t need the information, it should be discarded in the right way. Also, it is essential to change your device(s) default settings to ensure you don’t keep information that isn’t important to you or your business.
3. Protect the Information You Choose to Keep
After identifying what you or your business needs to keep, you have to lock it. How you lock the information depends on its form. Paper documents, CDs, Zip drives, tapes, and files having sensitive personal information should be locked in a private room. You can also lock them in cabinets and make sure you know who has the keys at any time.
When it comes to the information stored in computers, you have to work smart. First, it is vital to identify the computers or servers with sensitive data. Also, identify connections to your computers and assess the vulnerability of the connections. Conducting a full-scale security audit is of importance to identify loopholes or confirm that your connections and data is secure.
To secure data in a smartphone, computer or laptop, it is essential to have strong passwords. All devices in the company having sensitive information should have ‘long’ and ‘strong’ passwords that hackers or identity thieves may not guess easily. Furthermore, training employees on a few tips, such as not giving out passwords to strangers will keep your sensitive data secure.
More so, to install a firewall to protect your laptop or computer from hackers while it’s are connected to the internet is a wise move. Firewalls make it tough for hackers to locate computers and access computer programs as well as files. Further, you can install an intrusion detection system that detects network breaches.
4. Train Employees
If you want your data security plan to work, you must train your employees. You should even hire experts to conduct the training so that employees can detect security vulnerabilities. Also, they should be trained on the tricks hackers use. This is the best defense tactic against data network breaches and identity theft.
5. Plan for the Future
After having everything in place, businesses should now create a plan for responding to data security cases. The response plan should be well crafted, and companies should have one member of the staff to coordinate and implement the response plan. The response plan should be able to investigate security incidents immediately and act accordingly to shut the loopholes leaking personal information.
Also, to keep personals data safe online, one must avoid clicking on links or opening emails they don’t know about. It is also important to always sign out after using an online service, be it banking or any other online service. Further, you should always avoid public Wi-Fi when handling sensitive transactions. These tips will help you protect your data online.
Keeping sensitive data secure helps companies and individuals to avoid hacking incidents that can be very costly. We have seen big organizations lose funds and sensitive data to hackers, and that should make you think twice about securing sensitive data. Therefore, use the above steps, and your data will be secure.