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5 Practical Protocols to
Secure Stored Data

As more companies move their data to cloud-based environments, securing their confidential information has become even more of a company-wide priority. From human error to natural disaster, unsecure BYODs to cyber attacks, data loss at any scale can cost your business. With worldwide data storage spending expected to surpass $50 billion by 2019, here are 5 protocols to help ensure the protection of your company’s critical data and investments.

1. Classify Your Data

Classifying your business data makes it easier to find and retrieve at those important moments. There are a few levels of data most businesses can utilize:

  • Data that is free and open to the public.
  • Internal data available to all employees but not meant for public viewing.
  • Sensitive internal data only meant for certain employees. This data could have an effect on operations if disclosed.
  • Highly sensitive data that cannot be released, like an employee’s personal information.

By classifying the different types of data stored on your servers, you can create a comprehensive protection plan.

2. Back Up Data

Data loss can be a killer for companies, but it’s relatively easy to make sure your files are accessible in multiple locations.

Often, business owners confuse storage with backup. Just because your files are duplicated in applications like Dropbox doesn’t mean that your data is backed up. A backup allows a company to access versions of files at a specific point in time. This means if your files are compromised, you can access an earlier version of them. An automatic backup solution also means you don’t have to rely on employees to create a manual backup of important files.

3. Get Employees Onboard

Internal employees can account for 43% of data loss, so creating a plan or contract for employees to review can be crucial.

Make sure your employees know they are accountable for their data interactions and promote data security tips, such as:

  • Discouraging easy to guess passwords or password sharing.
  • Discouraging uploads of sensitive files to personal emails or cell phones.
  • Not carrying sensitive information on laptops while traveling.
  • Not using generic CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs or USBs to transport sensitive information. The items can be regulated by company policy so only the employees with authorization can perform these functions.
  • Not keeping old data stored on antiquated hardware, but securely disposing of copiers, outdated voicemail systems, and old fax machines.

4. Implement Firewalls and Antivirus

If there is anything the latest headlines have taught us, it is that anyone is at risk for a data security breach. But some tried and true safeguards can help increase your line of defense. While sophisticated hackers may be able to infiltrate businesses through email attachments and Internet searches, installing a firewall on your company computers can prevent employees from stumbling onto the wrong Web result and putting your entire organization at risk.

Antivirus software is another practical threat prevention tool that will prevent the potential harm to your stored data by exposing the presence of malware (malicious software) that may be attached to an email or an accidental download from the Internet. It can protect your data from being compromised by scanning for and ceasing the spread of virus code on storage networks.

5. Encrypt Your Data

For business information that requires a deeper level of protection, encryption and SSL may be an option.

SSL, or secure socket layer, is generally used to protect information transferred between two parties. For example, when you buy something online, the page that you insert your credit card information on will be armed with an SSL certificate.

This layer of encryption protects your organization from hackers or malware designed to transfer sensitive customer information to the wrong hands. It can also be used to protect internal data, especially if you have information traveling to a payroll server.

When it comes to data storage, businesses cannot afford to underestimate the importance of safety protocols. To confirm your organization will avoid unwanted disruptions to its sensitive information, you need to apply a tactical strategy that can help reduce the risks, protect your valuable data, and assure your peace of mind.