Virtually every business stores some sensitive information. Whether that’s information about employees, customers or your business partners, it can be devastating to lose sensitive information to a hard drive failure, security breach or any other incident. This makes it imperative that your business has proper data storage measures in place. Answer these questions to see whether your business’ storage practices may be putting data at risk:
1. Is all of your data backed up?
Not having a backup of your data is a major risk. If your data is ever lost or stolen, you may be unable to conduct business and/or face legal consequences. Give yourself a safety net by creating multiple backups of your data. For example, one backup could be kept on external hard drives while another backup (or two) could be kept on network-attached storage (NAS) or cloud-based storage. Be sure your data is automatically backed up on a regular basis &emdash; this may mean daily backups for your most important files.
2. Do you thoroughly delete all sensitive deleted data?
Permanently deleting data isn’t as simple as sending files to your computer’s recycle bin. Digital information that’s simply deleted can still be retrieved by computer–savvy criminals willing to do a little digging. In order to truly delete sensitive data, you need to make sure the computer writes over the old file information. On Macs, this can be done by selecting "Secure Empty Trash," while on Windows computers, you’ll need to use third-party programs such as CCleaner or Eraser. Don’t forget to delete backup versions of this data as well.
3. Do you have password and encryption policies?
All sensitive data that your business handles should be secured using encryption technology. This includes encrypting sensitive data before sharing over networks such as email and before storing it on the cloud. Each device and system should have a different password. Educate your employees on creating strong passwords and avoiding the reuse of passwords. Data that’s secured behind a weak or reused password is vulnerable to hackers.
4. Are you aware of the latest threats?
Hackers are always working on new ways to steal data. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats and how to prevent them. Helpful resources you can utilize include the United Sates Computer Emergency Readiness Team’s (US-CERT) National Cyber Awareness System, which provides security alerts and tips, and the European Union Computer Emergency Response Team’s (CERT-EU) news feed, which aggregates cyber security news from around the world. Because prevention can mean the costly and time–consuming need to update software or hardware, you may want to have a dedicated security specialist or team to ensure you’re prepared to handle the latest threats as soon as possible.
5. Do your devices have anti–virus software?
Modern anti–virus software helps protect computers from a variety of threats including viruses, ransomware, spyware and more. Having anti–virus protection is one of the best ways to safeguard data, so be sure to immediately install it on all new devices that enter your business’s ecosystem, including smartphones and tablets. A bonus of many anti–virus apps for smartphones and tablets is the ability to remotely wipe a device if it were to become missing or stolen.
Protect your business
Give your business’s data an extra layer of protection with IBM™ Security Trusteer Rapport™ Software, available free of charge for California Bank & Trust customers. For additional resources that can help protect your business from fraud and cyber threats, visit our Privacy & Security center.[cite::171::cite] [cite::172::cite]