Data is one of the most important resources for any organisation in the modern world. After all, it forms the backbone of so many companies — data defines how every company makes decisions and operates, meaning that it’s important to ensure that your organisation’s data is safe.

The threat of data becoming compromised is a massive fear for lots of organisations, as sensitive information falling into the wrong hands could be majorly detrimental, if not catastrophic. That’s why data security is one of the most important things any modern company should consider.

In this article, we’re going to go over the best practices for your organisation’s data security strategy, to ensure that you can have a high standard of data security throughout your organisation.

Best Practice 1: Conduct a data security audit

The first step in creating a data security strategy is ensuring you know what you need to protect within your organisation, and how you should start going about it. The best way to do this is by conducting a data security audit, to identify any potential vulnerabilities or any parts of your company that are high-priority.

By ensuring that you identify these things early on, you can work towards a strategy that covers those essential parts of your organisation — meaning that you can ensure that your strategy works perfectly for your organisation.

When doing this audit, you will:

  • Ensure that appropriate policies are in place.
  • Check all procedures and how they apply to your organisation’s needs.
  • Verify that those policies and procedures are being followed.
  • Detect breaches or potential breaches of compliance.
  • Recommend any changes to the above.

This will ensure that your data security strategy is all-encompassing and will lead to a tighter security posture in the future.

Best Practice 2: Encrypt your data

Data encryption is essential, as it acts as a lock for your organisation’s data. It essentially means that any data lifted from your organisation externally can’t be read, as it will be encrypted — which scrambles the data, and requires an encryption key to unscramble it.

This is especially important for personally identifiable data, as failing to encrypt this data will mean that a data breach could lead to the leakage of lots of personal information. This could be grounds for legal action in some cases, but also endangers the data of anyone that your organisation works with, which includes customers.

Encryption isn’t fully protective, and it doesn’t completely protect your organisation. However, it ensures that any data that is lifted from your organisation can’t be accessed without your encryption key, which is another vital security measure to stop the nastiest of attacks and breaches from wreaking havoc throughout your organisation.

The most common kind of data encryption is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is the United States Government’s standard for data encryption. Data encryption is also a very cost-effective form of protection, as a lot of data encryption tools are made to be affordable.

Best Practice 3: Implement access control policies

One of the easiest ways for any malicious attackers to get into your organisation is by accessing your organisation’s systems — whether it be physically or through your servers. By using access control policies, you can ensure that only those who are allowed to see your organisation’s data can access it while barring access to anyone who isn’t.

Access control is a fundamental part of any modern business. Much like how physical buildings and offices are blocked off from the outside world using ID cards and keys, your online protection is also vital, and so neglecting this can lead to a massive vulnerability for your organisation.

There are lots of different types of access control, some of the most common being —

  • Discretionary access control (DAC): Every object in your system has an owner, who grants individual access to that object whenever required.
  • Role-based access control (RBAC): Access rights are given based on defined business functions, using the principle of least privilege.
  • Mandatory access control (MAC): Users are granted access in the form of a clearance, commonly used in governmental contexts.
  • Attribute-based access control (ABAC): Access is granted based on a combination of attributes and environmental conditions, such as time and location.

Best Practice 4: Educate your employees

The best way to stop any data breaches and security issues is to educate your employees on what they could face. Knowledge is power, and ensuring that everyone is aware of the threats that they could face stops lots of different issues, from social engineering to even just carelessness.

By educating your employees, you can create a security-conscious culture within your organisation and ensure that security remains at a high standard. This improves the likelihood that all security regulations are followed exactly to specification. 

Ideally, this will also improve trust within your organisation, and help avoid pushback against new data security policies. 

You should make use of interactive educational courses and meetings for your employees to ensure that their knowledge is up to date. 

You can use this to test their knowledge and help them improve wherever they’re lacking, while also raising awareness throughout your organisation and ensuring that security becomes a high-priority consideration for any employee within your organisation.

How We Can Help

Your data is both sensitive and valuable, which means that it needs to be protected. By having a data security strategy in place, you can ensure that your data is secure and looked after, away from any malicious attackers or breaches that could cause your most sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands.

If you’re looking to get started with a data security strategy but don’t know how — reach out to us today. Our experts will be able to help you through the process and ensure that you have a robust strategy that will ultimately protect your organisation.

Get in touch with us now and see how we can help you.