21st Sep, 2018
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Data being compared to oil, land or any other immensely valuable worldly asset are not novel comparisons anymore. The only thing which has changed about these comparisons is that now everybody understands and values the significance of the correlation. And there enters the critical concept of data security.
With enough being already proven regarding the perils of ignoring this concept, the difference between understanding and implementing the required measures is still causing significant pocket dents to businesses across the globe.
An extensive global study revealed that the average cost of a data breach globally is $3.86 million, a 6.4 percent increase from the 2017 statistics.
The numbers re-emphasize the fact the data security is not an IT issue but a business matter. Any point of contention on this principle truth is never going to help any organization.
What Is at Stake for You?
The businesses whose foundation stands on data such as those in the domain of sales, marketing, industry outreach etc. are especially the ones who are carrying a huge load of responsibility on their heads.
After all, faltering to secure something that is your own and failing to secure something which doesn’t even belong to you, but you were responsible for it – both hold a different level of ramifications. Of course, the stakes being higher in case of the latter!
The platter of risks involved is quite extensive in case of a security breach happening under your nose. Apart from the loss in terms of cost, fines, reparations etc. the reputational damage is the most significant one since it impacts the buying behavior of not just your customers but also your prospects.
Every second almost 55 data records are stolen or lost as per the breach level index. This makes for almost 4,775,635 compromised data records every single day.
Indeed, the stakes are high, and the risks are real.
Certainly, database security is not an easy feat. Managing the privacy and security of the data stored in database, the database server, the complete database management system along with other database workflow applications – it’s quite a mammoth job, given the risk-responsibility ratio aligned with it.
But before you start the task of secure-fencing the data, it is important to know where one should start to make a safe, water-tight arrangement. Based on the understanding of the data lifecycle in your company, it is important to first understand where all the vulnerabilities lie.
And remember, every endpoint in your database matrix can be exploited as an entry for a probable data theft. This analysis will differentiate your security-strategy from any other company since there is no fit-for-all approach which works in this domain.
Do you know what’s the biggest factor which contributes to continued data security breaches? It is having (over) confidence in the existing measures. Nothing else justifies some of the major data security comprises in the history – be it the Yahoo, Equifax or eBay blunders.
Some companies also practice “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy but it costs a lot later to realize that ignorance doesn’t take much time to turn into negligence (and SMBs may generally fall prey to this thought-fashion that why would somebody target them).
Walking Towards the Safe Havens
A proactive stance towards securing the perimeter is critical. Having advanced threat protection mechanisms and data leakage prevention policies are somethings which no organization can do without, especially one wherein the business function depends upon the accrued database.
With migration onto the cloud, many organizations start taking a complacent approach to their own security measures, however, that shouldn’t be the case because if a breach happens at that level, the repercussions would be huge. Also, when it comes to the business of lead generation, easy to use yet secure CRM is what companies dream of and that’s not too difficult a one to achieve if the security strategy is crafted well.
Let’s look at what you can do to craft such a strategy.
Tips to Safeguard Your Data
Don’t go cheap on security
Firewalls and secure servers are non-negotiable for any firm. Shared server spaces mean you are always sitting on a land mine of possible data theft, hence, invest into secure server space instead of risking sensitive information on shared portals alongside spending on comprehensive security applications.
Practice controlled access
With amenities like device portability, anytime access etc. the job has become easier but riskier as well. Ensure security-based user profiles wherein the roles and limitations are clearly defined. Geo-fenced access and regulated password policies will also come in handy.
Add security layers
With firms moving over the siloed DB management structure to allow a more collaborative working experience between departments, it becomes imperative to invest in automated security audits whilst ensuring the provision of edit trail for historical reference of critical data. Even when leveraging cloud facilities, don’t forego of the end-to-end encryption to strengthen your data security.
Don’t ignore the vulnerable human-layer
With all the technology solutions in place, the humans working on the data are also to be treated as susceptible endpoints. Keeping the possibility of inside threats in mind, invest time and money into requisite security training and sensitization for your employees without any level-bias (A c-suite employee is as susceptible as a field executive when it comes to data theft).
Measures as simple as limitations on file viewing, printing and forwarding have also saved many firms from disgruntled employees leaking important data.
Never underestimate hygiene
Are you aware that even after applying the requisite security measures, something as trivial as duplicated data – be it even in a backup drive, can make you a victim of data theft. Hence, ensure to have a completely managed and segregated database.
And properly managed database means letting go of unnecessary details also. A quick check on what all you exactly need and what all you’re collecting, will help. The thumb rule – delete what you don’t need.
Be a regular reviewer
Newer threats are emerging every day in the cyberspace and with the pace that the business landscape is witnessing the paradigm shift owing to the digital transformation trend, one can never be certain of what threat may come up. Hence, regular review and evaluation of the security and privacy policies are a must.
Be ready for the strike
Preparedness for any crisis has never hurt anybody. Having a response team in place can really impact the extent of losses you may incur in case of any data security breach. Depending upon the nature of the business, you can have profiles like a forensic data expert along with people from legal, IT, investor relations etc. in your crisis management team.
We’re living in the era of rapid technological revamp of almost every process which was earlier done manually. Leveraging the trend duly, you can also use security analytics to your advantage and foresee the probable threats or any changes in the security landscape. You can then review and update your existing programs basing them on those insights.
GDPR – An Opportunity in Disguise
With EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into the picture and despite holding strict adherence only for a specific demography, the global business equations have changed to quite an extent.
Giving more power to the individual and handing more responsibility to the businesses who deal with their data – the regulation is set to alter the overall dynamics, especially for the sales industry for whom the basic fuel is data.
Nonetheless, instead of an obstacle, businesses have a chance to leverage the same as an opportunity to make bigger leaps. It all depends upon the vision once again. It’s high time the leadership brigade gets rid of the tunnel vision after all when it comes to data security.
In an era of point-to-point encryption and tokenization of information, it has hardly remained a matter of choice for businesses to make data security a priority. The best take would be to grab the opportunity and become a trusted partner for all your business associates, customers, and prospects.
Do tell us what are your non-negotiables when it comes to securing your database? We would love to hear your expert views.