As Yogi Berra once said, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and when it comes to protecting valuable data for your business and your clients, what you don’t know can seriously damage your reputation and your finances.
Canadians value the privacy of their personal information and data security. In 2020, a poll conducted by KPMG found that 84% of Canadians would take their business elsewhere if a company they supported suffered a data breach. Most small businesses don’t want to risk losing loyal customers, yet with increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks surfacing, maintaining data security can seem challenging. The good news is that you can take steps to protect your business from data loss while also being prepared to minimize the damage caused by unpredictable events.
What Is Data Loss?
Data is lost when it becomes corrupted, deleted, or made unreadable by the user or the software application. It can happen accidentally or intentionally. Accidental data loss can look like a flash drive malfunctioning, files deleted by mistake before making a backup, or physically damaged devices, such as a dropped phone or tablet. Intentional data loss can look like data stolen over an insecure network, files deleted by a virus infection, or physically stolen or damaged devices.
Ransomware schemes are an example of intentional data loss that is increasing in frequency. In this case, hackers seize, encrypt, and hold your data for ransom. You can learn more about protecting your business from internet fraud in our previous blog post.
Here Are 5 Tips to Prevent Data Loss
Prepare your business for all scenarios with these five tips for preventing data loss:
Create a DLP Team or Hire One
The first step is to create a DLP team. You might already have employees who work in IT, or perhaps you’re ready to hire a new IT expert. If your company isn’t ready to hire IT experts as part of your core staff, your other option is to hire an outsourced IT firm to do it for you. At Alt-Tech, we offer a range of IT security options, including backup and data recovery services.
Create and Update DLP Plans
Once you have a team in place or you’ve chosen an IT firm to work with, you’ll want to create a detailed plan for data loss prevention. Strategically map out a course of action for all potential data loss scenarios. Keep your plans updated as employees, devices, software, or networks change. If you experienced data loss, have your security teams evaluate what happened and assess what could be done to prevent that type of loss from happening again. Successful businesses take the time to learn from mistakes and re-evaluate response protocols.
Research the DLP Standards of your Industry
Ask your network and other companies in your industry what they use for DLP strategies. You could be sharing valuable information and lesson-learned solutions that will protect everyone. Your colleagues might even have tips that you haven’t thought of or warn you against attacks they’ve experienced.
Educate Your Employees
Employee training is essential to effective DLP strategies. Educated employees can actively protect company assets. When employees understand the reasons behind rules and checklists, they’ll feel more encouraged to participate in the strategy. Employees will also be more likely to report data loss incidents if they know they can do so without punishment.
Test Your Network Security and Back-Up Plans
Don’t wait until a crisis to see if your data back-up strategy works. Test your process regularly to find and work out the kinks in advance. If you’ve hired a DLP team to work with on your prevention strategies, discuss with them your process and options for improvements. You’ll also want to run routine network security vulnerability checks.
What Does Incident Response & Remediation Involve?
When your business suffers a data breach, the best defense is to act quickly and decisively. Identify the situation and contain the loss to prevent further contamination in your network. Stop the source of the loss and recover the data where possible and install a back-up where available. If you don’t think you can recover data from your devices, don’t give up; contact us instead.
Alt-Tech has tools and systems that can recover seemingly lost data that other systems cannot. Once this process is complete, take time with your team to evaluate your network’s vulnerability and your response plan. Make the required repairs or upgrades to your security network and improve your DLP plan so that you’re better prepared for future events.
Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash