Data security has become a buzzword in recent weeks with the revelation of Cambridge Analytica’s involvement with Facebook’s data and election cycles worldwide. Now more than ever, ensuring the security and integrity of your customer’ information is a key requirement for business success in today’s modern climate.
So what steps are needed to ensure data security? The easiest step is to ensure all local (or on premises data) is encrypted. Fortunately, many software offerings have encryption built in, with features to protect your information. For example, Windows systems feature BitLocker, a full disk encryption system for encrypting your information.
So why does encryption matter? Imagine if you were to send someone a letter, and a malicious party was able to intercept it. Reading your private message is as simple as opening the envelope and reading the plain text document. With encryption, you essentially scramble the contents into something that is not readable by humans. Computers, on the other hand, when provided with the correct key, can decrypt these messages.
Through a system of private and public keys, encryption ensures that the only one who opens and views the data you send is the person you intend. Even if the data itself were to be intercepted, the information/data gained would be useless.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that your web traffic is encrypted. This can be done fairly easily through the installation of an SSL Certificate.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it’s imperative to train your employees in responsible use of customer data. While it may seem straightforward, ensuring that company policy dictates ethical use of user data is a key component in ensuring data security. It takes just one disgruntled employee to expose your company to potentially millions of dollars in fines, so ensuring the proper training is not something to be skimped on.
If you’re doing business in the 21st Century, you’re almost certainly collecting some sort of user data, wittingly or not. How you protect that data will also affect your reputation, by a customer base that is increasingly aware of data security and protection. By ensuring that your on premise data is secured along with your web traffic, you can take the first steps in practicing good data security. This need can only be expected to grow as our daily lives become more and more interconnected. Can your company afford to run afoul of this needed security?