9 Key Measures for Data Protection and IT Security

9 Key Measures for Data Protection and IT Security

The definition of business assets is shifting. Physical assets such as stock, business equipment and property security remain vitally important. However, there is a growing appreciation for the fact that a business’ wealth is increasingly tied up in that intangible entity known as ‘data’.

Data is an integral part of every function of your business: your customer database, product catalogue, management software, selling portals, accounting, machine tooling, communication and your HR function (to name but a few)…

Securing Your Business’ Data

Almost without exception, the safety of your business’ data relies upon the protection, transmission and accessibility of information that is tied up in digital ‘packets’.

You need to have appropriate IT security measures in place to mitigate the risk of important data getting into the wrong hands. And with an increasing number of people working from home in the advent of Covid-19, this presents a further challenge to businesses.

So, how do you protect your precious company data? Here’s our 9 Step Guide to data security.

1. Firewall

A firewall’s purpose is to filter traffic through a network and block suspicious activity. They are fundamental to any IT security plan.

2. Two Factor Authorisation

‘Strong’ passwords are no longer enough to protect a business’ critical data.

2FA is a protocol in which the user can only gain access to business-critical information after successfully presenting a second or additional piece/s of evidence (or factor).

First Factor: What do you know already? E.g. Your username and password.

Second Factor: A unique, randomly-generated ‘one-time-password’ via a mobile app using something that only the user has. E.g. Your mobile phone.

3. Data Encryption & VPNs

Data encryption secures the transfer of digital information between networks. There are a number of different methods of encryption. However, for the secure transfer of data, one of the most popular is a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN service gives your data safe passage to your chosen end-users and remains entirely protected against external threats.

4. Anti-spam

Just think of the number of emails we receive every day! Anti-spam software filters out suspicious emails that – if clicked-through – may install malware onto your computer.

5. Anti-virus

Should your system suffer a breach and harmful software be installed onto your computer, anti-virus software can detect and diffuse – mitigating the risk of a potentially damaging situation.

6. Content Filters

Content filters flag online pages and files that could potentially contain harmful data before the user has the chance to access it.

7. User Education

Ultimately, as those trusted few who have access to your data, your staff need to be trained on how to use and manage it safely. Staff should – at the very least – have a sound grasp of best practice when working online.

8. Patching / Updates

All software that handles your company data (including your computer’s operating system) needs to be regularly updated. As well as providing improvements to software functionality, updates improve your computer’s security (often in response to newly identified threats).

9. Backup

Regular data backups form an intrinsic part of any business’ data protection strategy. A belt-and-braces approach is best (i.e. cloud-based backup and physical backup) for extra security.

Your Business’ Data Protection Needs

Naturally, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to data protection. It’s important to implement the solutions that best fit your business and its unique requirements. You’ll need to consider the IT infrastructure of your business as well as the types of data being used within the company.

Seeking professional advice will ensure your business’ IT systems – and therefore your data – receives the best – and most cost-effective protection. Can your business afford a data breach?

Blunt advice on IT security from Yorkshire Powerhouse

Have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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