If you own or operate a business, you know how important it is to protect your data from internal and external threats. Losing data negatively impacts you, your customers, and your stakeholders. If you want to avoid financial loss and damage to your company’s reputation, make sure you’re managing its data in a safe and secure way.
With that said, here are four crucial data-loss prevention tactics.
Develop a sound plan
Your data protection strategy should include a range of controls and protective measures at different points in the data lifecycle (collection, use, transit, storage, archival, and destruction). Implementing a sound data-loss prevention plan with other protection technologies, like encryption and file destruction, is key to your overall success. You should also look into utilizing a cloud backup system. That way, even if your devices fail, your data will be safe. More than half of all U.S. businesses are using some sort of cloud storage system already!
When deciding on a data-loss prevention vendor, carefully consider and examine each company to ensure that it provides comprehensive solutions, centralized workflow capabilities, integrated policies, and customized reporting. The vendor you choose should also offer you a program that has capabilities across three vectors: data at rest, data in motion, and data at endpoints.
While you might overlook it, it’s also important to involve your stakeholders from the start of plan development. This ensures that all parties understand your business’s requirements and how they’ll affect operations, employee behavior, and company culture.
Linking your data-loss prevention plan with key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you measure your company’s performance and the effectiveness of the strategy you’ve developed. KPIs commonly used include percentage of network coverage, number of incidents concerning data leaks, and percentage of application coverage. To make this process easier, eliminate reporting that doesn’t directly involve your data-loss prevention plan or KPI strategy.
Increase employee effectiveness
When dealing with your employees, the first action you should take is to assign roles and responsibilities to them, providing in-depth training and outlining what you expect. A detailed, accountable, and informed staffing model will help you determine how the different functional areas of your company factor into the plan, design, implementation, and operation of your data-loss prevention solution. You also include your stakeholder’s role in this plan.
Remember though, some employees might consider your vendor of choice intrusive. It’s important to gauge your company’s culture so you can establish protections that are vital to it without being too invasive. The goal here is to complete a smooth implementation of your data-loss prevention strategy. Also remember to identify data owners, establish close relationships with them, and engage with them in effective and ongoing communications.
Streamline and simplify your processes
When establishing a data-loss prevention program, the most important step you can take is identifying your most sensitive data and assigning it a classification. Doing this will aid you in creating the right policies you need to detect and respond to incidents that involve sensitive data leaks. It also helps your company understand what data is most important and how it should handle and protect that data.
Conducting a data protection assessment will allow you to analyze the existing process controls and technology, finding any gaps within the system. Make sure that you include all areas of the company, document the location of the sensitive data, estimate the exposure it faces, and measure the potential magnitude of the loss. Doing so will help you develop processes that are simpler, yet more efficient.
Use technology to detect and prevent data loss
You should aim to deploy modular solutions that offer the maximum coverage with minimal internal disruption. This makes it possible for your company to implement robust data protection solutions as technologies mature and your business needs dictate.
Underestimating the threats to your data can prove to be a major mistake. If you want to protect your company and avoid an unfortunate future situation, keep these four points in mind when developing a sound strategy.
Has your company developed and implemented a data-loss prevention plan? How has it worked so far?
* DJ is a freelance writer who focuses on technology and business. He has an entrepreneurial mindset and passion for story telling. You can follow his musings on Twitter @MillerHeWrote.