5 Steps for Keeping Your Data Safe

Every day, countless gigabytes of data are either lost to hardware failure or compromised by a third-party breech. To ensure that your critical information remains private and intact, learn how to protect it from internal malfunction and external invasion.

A Widespread Problem

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there were at least 110 data breaches recorded during the first three months of 2016. These events left nearly 1.8 million private records exposed at a number of high-profile organizations, including healthcare facilities, banking institutions, military departments and even the IRS.

While data breeches get the most press, according to industry estimates, over two-thirds of data loss is directly related to hard drive failure and other issues that occur inside an organization. Fortunately, you can keep your data safe and sound by employing the following safeguards.

  1. Back it up: Be sure to back-up irreplaceable data in a secure off-site location. If you choose a cloud storage service, ask direct questions about how it will keep your data safe from third-parties.
  2. Encrypt your data: According to the ITRC, only 2.4 percent of organizations that experience a breach use encryption, while only 8.5 percent used any form of password protection.
  3. Restrict access: Make sure you carefully select which employees will have access to important data, especially if you are using a cloud service.
  4. Secure your network: Make sure you use the strongest possible authentication method, depending on your network infrastructure.
  5. Eliminate old records: Determine the best way to safely purge old or outdated sensitive information, so it won’t end up in the wrong hands.

Making a Plan

Despite best practices, issues are bound to occur. To minimize the impact of an unexpected breech or data loss, create an incident response strategy. Have a plan B in place that will allow your organization to continue functioning even during worst-case scenarios. Interview data recovery specialists and security experts before a problem arises, so you will know exactly where to turn when an unexpected event demands a timely response.

According to the ITRC, most data problems occur either because a company falsely believes its data is already safe or because its leaders fear the expense associated with securing information. To reduce your risk of catastrophic data loss, take the time to ensure that your information really is safe and explore cost-effective ways to make it so.