The focus of every interaction with clients' data should be the protection of personal data, regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This action requires the implementation of various data protection techniques that ensure a business operates in compliance with the applicable data protection regulations.
If you do not know where to start, we will reveal five easy steps to help you implement data protection techniques in your organization.
1. Develop a Data-Centric Security Strategy
Advancements in technology have blurred traditional lines that separated work devices. For instance, the Internet of Things implies that there are more devices connected to a business network than ever before.
Therefore, your business must take a holistic approach to data security to ensure that you remain safe from threats on the web or can identify threats before they spread throughout your organization. You can do this by adopting a security-first approach to their data.
Some of the tips to keep in mind when implementing a data-centric security strategy are:
Identify the type and sensitivity of data your organization deals with, the level of protection each data category requires, and the policies that will support adequate protection of that data.
Focus on adopting data protection techniques that would offer the best protection to the most sensitive data. Businesses deal with vast amounts of data, yet finite data protection resources. Therefore, identifying the most valuable data for your business allows you to focus your efforts in the right places.
Understand the data security threats your business faces. Most common threats include malware, phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, and weak passwords. Once you know the threats you face, - you can implement strategies such as encryption, multi-factor authentication to keep your business safer.
Pseudonymisation is one of the data protection techniques recommended by the GDPR. It simply refers to masking data, so that personal data cannot be linked to a specific person without the necessary security measures.
Some of the techniques you can adopt to pseudonymize sensitive data include:
3. Consider Cyber Insurance
The average cost of a data breach keeps going up as cybercriminals develop more sophisticated ways to infiltrate business systems. According to Statista, the average cost of data breaches in the UK between May 2020 and May 2021 was 2,670 British pounds.
The cost of data breaches is expected to go up as businesses grow larger. This means that having a cushion to fall back on in case of a data breach can protect you and your business from carrying the financial burden of a data breach.
A cyber insurance policy will cover some or all of the costs associated with a data breach, thus allowing your business to recover from a breach without having to shut down.
However, having a cyber-insurance policy would be backed by other measures to protect your business data. For instance, encrypting sensitive information will reduce the amount of damage you suffer.
4. Introduce Access Controls in Your Organization
Implementing data control techniques is never complete without access controls. Granting each employee access to all business data creates great risks for your business.
Most data breaches occur due to human error. Phishing and other social engineering attacks are designed to take advantage of human psychology to influence decision-making.
This means that each employee who has access to sensitive information is a weak link in your data security efforts. Implementing data protection techniques and controlling how much access an employee has to business data can make a big difference in your business.
Assess the job responsibilities of each employee and the information they need to complete their tasks effectively. For example, a receptionist should not have access to the payment information of your clients.
This also means adopting measures such as encryption to ensure that data remains secure even if an unauthorized person gains access to that data.
5. Set Up a Data Disposal System
The more data a business holds on to, especially sensitive data such as a customer's credit card information - the more it is likely to lose in case of a data breach. To prevent such incidents, businesses should have a disposal system as a part of their data protection strategy.
A disposal strategy specifies when and how certain data should be disposed of. A disposal strategy should cover safe and secure ways to destroy sensitive data that your business holds.
It may include techniques such as:
Overwriting old files with new files
Degaussing hard drives and other storage media to make them unreadable
Physical destruction of devices holding sensitive data such as disk shredding
Your data disposal strategy should be built upon the standards from regulatory bodies such as the National Cyber Security Center in the UK and the Center for the Protection of National Infrastructure.
For businesses in the US, you will find disposal regulations from the Federal Trade Commission, HIPAA, and specific state statutes.
Which are the Best Data Protection Techniques
There are many data protection techniques that a business can adopt to secure its data. The best method depends on the type of data your business holds and the way your business uses that data.
You also need to realize that there’s no perfect data protection technique that will solve all your data security needs. What you’ll find instead is several data protection techniques, which, when used together, form a strong layer of protection for your business data.
This implies combining data protection methods such as encryption with access control, data backups, and regular monitoring of your systems.
Data protection should be a top priority for businesses of all sizes. If you handle any sensitive data, then you should identify and incorporate various data protection techniques within your business. The goal of these techniques is to protect from malicious actors any sensitive data that your business handles. You also protect your business from financial losses that arise with non-compliance and data breaches.