How to keep your data safe at work

Security breaches are any professional’s worst nightmare, particularly if it results in important business and employee information getting into the wrong hands.

It is vital that every workplace has an air-tight security system, such that there are no data leakages or thefts. Here’s how to keep your data safe at work.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance is changing. From May 2018, every organisation that deals with the data of residents in the EU must comply with the new regulations protecting personal data, which focus on allowing for citizens to control where their personal data is stored using opt-in instructions which allow for consent to be explicitly expressed (or not expressed) by the individual.

Whilst the new regulations may help to keep your personal or business’s data safe when browsing the web, you must also ensure that your business is compliant with the new laws by May 2018.

Locate your data

Businesses typically store their data in a plethora of locations, be it on a general server, on individuals’ devices such as computers, laptops, and smartphones, or on cloud computing. Keeping track of where data is stored is a vital component of keeping employee and business information safe at work.

Make a list of all the possible places in which your data is stored, including that of external servers. This is commonly called “data-mapping” and is an important step towards ensuring the safe handling of all company data.

Centralise your important data

All of the important data related to the fundamentals of your business is best protected when it is centralised. Save vital documents and information on an internal server, and ensure that the location of this data is adequately secure with password protection.

Cloud data storage is popular given that it does not require reliance on any hardware that is subject to damage or theft. Information stored in the cloud is accessible on the internet by those who have permission to view it, making it flexible for businesses in the digital age. It is important to study and carefully consider the security elements of any individual cloud data service.

Create a data safe culture

Successful companies will create a corporate culture that takes data and sensitive information seriously. This is reinforced through regular training, memos, and reminders that those that do not keep data safe can be prosecuted or even fired.

Basic examples start at turning off your screen when you are not in the room or are out of hours. Other things like not leaving documents or information lying around in case it gets into the wrong hands and having shredding facilities to remove any unused but potentially valuable data.

Use secure databases

Any extra encryption on your databases can help reduce any potential data breaches. Making sure you have a solid and reliable database is key to manage your company and customer data, whether it is using technology from Oracle, Grakn or MongoDB.

One of the new ideas that have emerged from GDPR is the concept that any customer data could be encrypted, so even if it got into the wrong hands, it would be presented as a numerical code rather than an individual’s name or personal details.

Password protect and access control

You should ensure that secure passwords are required in order for employees to access company data.

This will help prevent members of the public from accessing your business’s private information. Further, there should be different access-levels applied to files among employees within any single company in order to avoid any internal leaks or security breaches.

Access to sensitive information such as company financials will usually be limited to that of the directors, partners and their finance administer, for example.  Any information that is stored outside of this safe location will be more susceptible to infiltration.

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