Data security refers to the practices done to protect documents and information. In this digital age, most turn to online databases and digital storage. While accessible and easy, it comes with its own vulnerabilities. Digitizing forces us to reevaluate our operations and practices like how we secure our data.
Simple Security for Everyone
You don’t have to be a large company to benefit from data security. Smaller businesses should actively protect their data as they grow, and everyone should know the vulnerabilities of their personal computers. It can be overwhelming to understand complicated jargon like “endpoint security systems” or “multi-factor authentication.” So, we laid out the basics of data security practices. Through this, we hope to have an introduction of what goes into protecting your precious digital assets.
Data security comes in different forms, but the main goal is to prevent data breach or provide recovery options. Basic data security can start with you and the ABC’s: Administration, Backup, and Classification.
Administration Security Practices
The first step in securing your data is to know who has access. People will want to access different data for different reasons. Limiting or monitoring control then allows for accountability. It’s important to establish a permissions system within your company with a strict list of administration personnel. With this comes different levels of access:
Full Ownership Access – The user owns this piece of information, and has the right to access, modify, or delete the data. In some cases, this also serves the right to restrict access to this information.
Modification Access – Users can access and modify data but claim no ownership of it. This level is usually for human resource personnel who need to see or change employee information. You can also specify if this level can delete data or not.
Viewing Access – The user may read the data but cannot modify it. Usually, these are for people inside or outside the organization who need information from your database.
Luckily enough, administration security is easier for those who use personal or home computers. You can find specific softwares or websites that can restrict access for you. In famous browser-based storage systems like Google Drive, you can adjust who has permission to view, comment, or edit your file.
Backup Your Data
From student to company, everyone has digital documents. However, there is no guarantee of secure data, and we always run the risk of things beyond our control corrupting it. In fact, cybercrime cost U.S. businesses more than $6.9 billion in 2021. Diversifying storage of important records gives more options for recovery, and backups can save you from losing it all.
Not only should we be aware of the different types of cyberattacks that can ruin a business, but what we can do to secure our system. There are 3 types of backups to perform:
- Full Backup This is to create an exact copy of your entire data with minimal time to restore information. But, it is done less often since it takes longer to perform and takes up more storage.
- Incremental Backup – This data stores only what has changed since the last backup. Since it only copies modified data, this backup is faster and can be done often.
- Differential Backup – Similar to incremental backups, this focuses on changes that happened since the full backup. Differential backups will copy data from the previous full backup, taking up more storage and time.
You should create a monthly, weekly, or even daily schedule for backups. Automatic backups can be helpful, but it’s better to personally know when your storage is up to date.
Classify Your Data
Of course, you cannot secure your data if you do not know what kinds you have. Misunderstanding of records may look like a small issue, but knowing which data are sensitive is key to proper security. This is essential to knowing which categories of data are a risk, and making sure you know how to fix security breaches. Evaluate the categories needed by asking yourself the following questions:
- What information do you collect and from who?
- How much of your data is classified?
- What would be gained from accessing your data?
- Can any of your data be publicly accessed?
Classifying data starts with sorting through it yourself or with a team. It will also help to hire employees who will manage or create a database to store your data and organize them based on different categories. However, every organization should have their own unique filing system. So, be sure to actively collaborate with your team to be up to date with your data security practices.
Practice Organizing for Data Security
Overall, it boils down to organization. Knowing what kind of data you have and how it’s stored should be basic knowledge for better security. Even with a large and dedicated IT department, it is important to be hands on when it comes to your company’s data. If you know how to organize your data, making sure that everything is safe and secure should be a piece of cake, tech savvy or not.