Whilst many of us have worries about data loss, not all of us know how to go about protecting our organisations against data loss, or how to implement a strategy in order to prevent that data loss in the first place! With the inexorable rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) use, the sharing of data, the cloud and other technological advances, the risk of losing data has also increased ten-fold and in order to protect the company, now’s the time to set out those data loss prevention programmes and establish a disaster recovery plan!
Data security measures must apply throughout the organisation, from top to bottom, and its often down to the IT departments to handle these strategies, deal with the issues and implications of unsecured data, and maintain corporate systems. But the implementation of any policy or strategy is not down to one department alone; all employees hopefully! Below are six recommendations when it comes to establishing your data loss prevention strategy.
1. Educate. All employees need to understand not only the potential data loss risks in BYOD, using public and private clouds, and sharing data, they also need educating on how to go about preventing such data loss by following the company’s best practices, such as keeping files secure. Make sure that every employee’s understanding of the policies are reviewed on a regular basis; keep reminding them!
2. Trust. Whilst we’ve just said above to keep reminding employees of their responsibilities to prevent data loss, you need to strike a balance between this and trusting them to follow the guidelines you’ve set out. Remember that they’ve different priorities; they need to meet deadlines, inform and share information in order to make sales, and more so, give them the benefit of the doubt; it’s not in their best interests to put the company at risk on purpose!
3. From the top, down. Any data loss strategy must be followed by all in the company, from director level, through to executives, and the workers. Company executives need to be just as proactive in following the guidelines as their employees, and understand the implications of data loss; as always, they need to lead from the front.
4. Digital tags. You have varying types of data within your organisation which you need to classify and protect. One way of doing this to help prevent the loss of data is to digitally tag the data and tie it into access management rights; employees will only be able to see the data they are allowed access to, and should unauthorised access be attempted (by employee or hacker), or the data is shared with another by mistake, they will not be able to decipher what is on the screen in front of them.
5. Defence lines. Any policy involved with risk analysis and data prevention has to consider the risks involved should the organisation suffer a data loss, yet remain flexible for other unforeseen circumstances. Departments need to work together to create, develop and implement the best possible strategies and policies to protect the organisation.
6. Knowledge share. Knowledge is power and understanding; share it! There are different aspects to the knowledge pool when it comes to corporate data. Access those knowledge areas and identify the priorities, i.e. your corporate data that needs the most protection, and work back from there.