More than ever before, data drives business. Your company’s data – from client data to your unique intellectual property– is critical to your business. Data helps you to better understand customers, anticipate the marketplace, and stay competitive. Data helps to improve processes and identify problems so that a business runs more efficiently and profitably.
These valuable assets need vigilant safeguarding. This data isn’t just valuable to you, it’s valuable to hackers as well. The safeguarding of some data – such as personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) – is mandated by federal regulations. What are you doing to ensure your data protection plan will keep your IT healthy and safe from vulnerabilities?
Many organizations can’t fully comprehend what a loss or theft of data would mean in terms of lost revenue, potential fines, and damaged client trust. While high-profile data breaches – Target, Yahoo, eBay and Equifax to name a few – garner headlines, attacks against small businesses may or may not make the 6 o’clock news. Yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny that cybercriminals have small businesses in their cross-hairs. Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigation points out that 43 percent of data breaches involved small businesses.
But it’s not only cybercrime that can take a business offline. Natural disasters can wreak havoc on computers, servers, and storage devices that hold important data. Internal breaches by employees are another often-overlooked threat, whether the act stems from negligence or malice. Regardless of the cause, what if your company information was destroyed or fell into the wrong hands? How do you ensure that you maintain a healthy data protection plan? Let’s review some great places to start.
Don’t Leave Data Protection to Chance
Threats to data protection should not be left to chance. Businesses can’t afford to risk the loss or integrity of their data, especially when that data involves highly sensitive customer information, which may be subject to regulatory compliance. To safeguard data from loss, corruption and compromise, businesses periodically need to review their data protection plan to make sure appropriate cybersecurity and physical safeguards are in place. This process helps uncover potential areas of vulnerability and better helps determine how to rectify these gaps in coverage.
Data Protection Checklist
While there is a lot to consider in keeping data available and secure, any data protection checkup should examine the following:
Resources: Vigilance is the name of the game when it comes to data protection, and that requires sufficient monitoring to stay ahead of threats and respond when one occurs. Hiring an IT managed service provider (MSP) to checkup on your data and ensure that your data’s workflow performance, storage, and cybersecurity best practices are reviewed and updated by IT security experts.
BYOD and Remote Work: While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and remote work options help companies attract qualified candidates, both policies pose considerable data threats. A data protection checkup affirms that there are policies in place, and that proper tools are deployed, to protect data accessed from personal devices as well as company-owned devices used offsite. Such policies address password protection, mobile device management, approved apps, access to company information over public networks and more.
Aging Computers: Maintaining aging computer hardware can end up costing a business more money than buying new systems, especially if the hardware lacks the latest security devices. According to a recent article published by Microsoft, the total cost of owning a 4+-year-old PC is $2,379, more than the cost of a newer PC. End of life (EOL) support for Windows 7 presents such a risk, since Microsoft will no longer patch the operating system with security updates.
Cloud Security: There is a common misunderstanding that everything related to the cloud is handled by a cloud service provider, including security. Not so. Responsibility for security is shared. That’s why companies need to configure their cloud installation to be as secure as possible. At the same time, a cloud service provider needs to provide assurances that data cannot be physically stolen and that all employees have gone through a background check.
How an MSP Can Help
Partnering with an IT managed service provider (MSP) such as Silverado can help businesses avoid current and potential threats. By proactively reviewing and monitoring your systems, your MSP can identify concerns before they become a problem. In addition to reviewing the chief components of a data protection plan, an MSP can evaluate new software acquisitions for security issues and conduct disaster recovery tests. They can assess the security of data residing offsite to ensure that it is physically separated from the outside world.
An MSP may have some proprietary practices, but overall it should follow industry best practices and solutions, recognizing that data protection practices need to evolve to protect against emerging threats. Silverado can conduct a checkup to ensure that all data protection elements are “healthy,” up to date, and in good working order to prevent failure and loss.
Call Silverado at (520) 903-1580 or contact us online and let us help you review your data protection plan.