Today’s corporate environment is entirely data-driven, where businesses rely on bits and pieces of information to carve their next strategy. Given the competition, every big and small business leverages data to meet customer expectations, predict market trends, meet goals and resist unforeseen events. These key roles involving data clearly emphasize the importance of data protection.
What Does Data Protection Mean?
Specifically, “data protection” refers to the secure storage and management of data by businesses while neither compromising customer security nor business practices.
Having robust data protection policies is essential because of the huge number of devices connecting businesses with users. It includes everything from computers to smartphones, robotics, and IoT devices.
The subsequently vast amounts of data shared with businesses compel the latter to adopt measures to protect users’ privacy from different aspects. At the same time, ensuring data protection also empowers organizations to detect and respond to any online threats proactively.
Why Is Data Protection Important for Businesses?
Wondering why is data protection more important now than ever before? The rise in data breach incidents targeting businesses globally answers that.
Since the business community relies more on data, it has become a treasure trove for cybercriminals. That’s because getting their hands on such information empowers them to extort businesses into agreeing to unfair demands.
To combat this major threat, governments have started implementing various mandatory laws, enforcing organizations with compliance.
One such example is the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 that mandates every big or small business to employ robust data protection strategies. These may include strengthening hardware and software security, training staff on the importance of data protection, and developing a trust-based relationship with the customers. Failure to comply with these laws can levy huge legal fines.
So, the primary reason for businesses to implement data protection is to ensure compliance. But that’s for their own good as well, since data breaches can severely damage a firm’s reputation – something nobody would want. Such breaches shake the trust of affiliates and partners and distract customers, ultimately inflicting substantial financial losses.
Nonetheless, if thorough data protection measures are in place, businesses don’t have to fear financial and reputational damages. Nor do they have to deal with potential data misuse by malicious third parties.
Importance Of Data Protection for Individual Users
As explained above, data protection typically allows businesses to carry on with their commercial uses of the data while ensuring customer security. Specifically, it requires firms to secure any personally identifiable information (PII) in the data. Indeed, the non-identifiable information suffices to keep operations running without breaching user privacy.
In this way, employing robust data protection measures becomes equally essential for the end-users. Any failures that lead to a data breach can impact the online safety and integrity of the customers. The loss of personal data, such as names, Social Security Numbers, and addresses, directly results in identity theft. Whereas criminal hackers also get the chance to carry on exploiting this information for long-term malicious activities such as phishing.
Thankfully, legislation like the DPA or the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) highlights the importance of data security for businesses and empowers end-users with more control over their data. For example, customers can ask the companies to share the information they collect and log, how they store it, and how long they retain it. Moreover, such laws also empower users with the right to opt-out and right to delete data. In this way, consumers can also take steps to protect their identities in the case of any security breaches.
Data Protection 2022 Best Practices
Protecting and securing data is vital for business operations, the employees, customers, partners, affiliates, and everyone connected to the firm. Hence, organizations must deploy thorough security programs, secure all weak points in the IT infrastructure, and create an environment nurturing data security.
But how can a business protect data? In general, it means addressing all areas so that the actual data stored remains unaffected even in the event of a security breach. Here are some of the significant steps to deploy in this regard.
1. Data Protection Policies
The primary factor ensuring thorough data protection is setting up the company policies respecting data privacy. It includes developing straightforward policies about secured data storage, data management, and using data for various activities without compromising sensitive details. In addition, those policies should include corrective actions to deal with any possible breaches.
2. Employee Training and Awareness
While businesses can develop robust policies, the onus of implementing them is on the staff. When the employees recognize the importance of data protection, they value those policies and work accordingly. Therefore, companies should execute awareness and training programs for their staff members. Such efforts not only add to the data protection measures but also alleviate the probabilities of insider threat.
3. Protecting Software and IT Systems
The third important step to protect data is to secure all IT components involved in the business. It includes all software programs and apps, all devices (desktops, laptops, printers, and others), servers, networks, and the entire IT infrastructure. While there are no fool-proof solutions to prevent data breaches, you can indeed minimize the possibility of damages by proactively deploying security tools.
The specific measures to ensure such comprehensive protection include protecting sites with a robust WAF, ensuring API security, endpoint protection, cloud security, and real-time network scanning. Hiring the services of a professional organization, such as Indusface, can help protect your data in the best possible way.
4. Applying Data Encryption
Encryption isn’t only about protecting messages and chats. Nor is it limited to stored data only. Businesses can also apply encryption to protect sensitive data in use, such as on hard drives, emails, and databases. In this way, the data remains protected even during an unexpected breach or hacking attack. Furthermore, even if the attackers manage to steal data, they won’t be able to decipher it due to encryption, thus posing a reduced threat to a firm’s reputation and integrity.
5. Data and Network Monitoring
Deploying data monitoring tools and receiving real-time alerts are necessary to detect and prevent breaches in the middle. Also, network monitoring counterchecks the effectiveness of data protection policies. Plus, the generation of log reports allows crafting plans to strengthen data security.
6. Setting Up Secure Data Backups
As stated above, businesses can’t avoid data breaches and hacking attacks all the time. So, regardless of how secure your data is, ensuring timely and secure data backups is essential to prevent the loss of sensitive data. It is crucial in today’s scenario when ransomware attacks are rampant, inflicting huge damages to organizations.
In this digital world, realizing the importance of data protection and security measures is crucial for organizations. Such measures facilitate businesses in ditching potential cybersecurity threats, earning customers’ trust, and achieving a credible position in the market. A little yet timely effort in this dimension will surely benefit businesses in the long run.