The goal of data security management is to protect and secure data against cybercriminals, internal security breaches, and human error. Data security management systems should safeguard an organization’s data throughout its entire life cycle. Data management strategies should prioritize protecting sensitive data such as personal data, intellectual property, confidential communications, trade secrets, and any information that can be used to withdraw or transfer funds.
The first step in developing a comprehensive data security management system is understanding and evaluating data security threats. Those may include:
- Lost or Stolen Equipment – Especially laptops, phones, and other portable devices.
- Malware – Viruses, spyware, ransomware, crimeware, denial-of-service attacks, etc.
- Phishing Scams – Usually attachments to emails that appear legitimate.
- Third Parties – A broad category that may include cloud services, people and organizations that have been granted access to the network, third-party apps, etc.
- Employees – Potential insider threats such as human error, inadequate training, malicious intent, or a toxic work culture where employees feel entitled to steal or commit acts of mischief.
Here are six ways to implement data security management at the organizational level:
- Compliance – Be sure your organization complies with data security laws and industry best practices.
- Limit Access – Access to sensitive data should be reserved for only those with the proper training, authorization, and job requirements.
- Training – Implement a robust training program organization-wide. Data security is no longer the purvey of just IT professionals – every person in the organization has the potential to be a threat or a safeguard against data breaches. Hackers commonly gain access by tricking mid- or low-level employees into revealing passwords or opening email attachments that launch malware.
- Controls – Implement controls to ensure that data is securely stored and cannot be deleted or modified without proper permission.
- Stay One Step Ahead – Ensure that hardware and software are consistently upgraded to meet the latest security standards and best practices. Install patches and upgrades as they become available. Inform staff of trends in data breaches in your industry and make sure they know what to look for and how to respond.
- Incident Response – Establish detailed protocols on how to react to data breaches. The plan should include strategies for limiting further damage, data recovery, the identification of who should be informed and how, and a post-event review to prevent repetition.
Consider these six ways to implement data security management at the day-to-day procedural level:
- Encryption – Data is encoded and scrambled to render it useless to anyone outside the organization.
- Backups – Regular backups ensure recovery of lost data.
- Authentication – This assures that users are not imposters. The most common authentication method is the use of a username and password. Two-factor authentication, such as requiring a password and a security question, is also effective.
- One-Time Passwords – Passwords that work for only one transaction or session.
- Data Masking – Sensitive data is obscured so people who do not have authorization cannot view that data.
- Erasing – Data on a hard drive or other digital storage media is wiped clean before the equipment is sold, donated, recycled, or otherwise discarded.
Data breaches are so common today that you should regard these intrusions as inevitable. The strategies presented here are the most simple but effective ways to implement data security management. Organizations need solutions that match the size and complexity of their operations, but every organization that uses even one computer, tablet, or smartphone is vulnerable and should implement a data security management system to avoid the costs and jeopardy of data security breaches.
For companies handling digital information, a Trust Center is essential in helping your customers understand how you are keeping their data private and secure.
You may contact one of our trust center experts to find out how to get started with a reliable trust center.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a no-pressure, free consultation.
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