In 2022, having a sound data security plan for your organization is paramount for ensuring your safety and the safety of your employees, partners, and customers. Unfortunately, crafting and implementing a plan that will protect your data today and grow with your business in the future is far easier said than done. If you aren’t confident your current data security plan will be enough to keep your organization protected, follow these 10 tips to solve your biggest data security challenges and improve the security plan you may already have.
1. Know What Kinds of Data You Have
Very rarely will two organizations have the exact same data security plan and, ultimately, their differences often come down to the data itself. When creating or improving their organization’s data security plan, one must take time to understand what kinds of data the organization handles regularly.
Knowing your data goes beyond knowing the file type, though. More specifically, your organization’s data requires context. Knowing how sensitive your data is, what the ramifications would be if it were to be compromised, and who is and isn’t permitted to view it are all foundational components of a sound security plan. Rather than manually making those determinations for each piece of data, though, this process can be streamlined by adding a data classification solution to your data security plan.
2. Identify When Your Data is Most Vulnerable
Just as the data itself often varies between organizations, so does the handling of that data. Some pieces of data are frequently shared between users and are often in transit, while other pieces of data remain mostly static after their creation, like data that are stored in a cloud database. Similarly, some data can only be seen by those with specific clearance, while other data is accessible to tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people.
Understanding how your data moves, how much data is being moved, and where its protection is most critical will determine what solutions your organization will need. While some organizations may only need an email security solution to fulfill their needs, for example, others should strongly consider pairing such a solution with managed file transfer (MFT) to take their security to the next level and protect larger file transfers.
3. Identify Your Organization’s Most Relevant Use Cases
Even though organizations often have distinct types of data and handle that data differently, those organizations can find some common ground in what they want their data security solutions to accomplish. When crafting a data security plan, after better understanding the context and handling of your data, one must also understand the challenges they may come across with their data and devise an end goal with those challenges.
Related Reading: Take a look at our Data Security Use Cases Guide to discover some of the most common data security challenges that organizations face and to see how our solutions can solve your challenges.
4. Don’t Neglect Any Part of Your Data’s Life Cycle
While you may find it necessary to prioritize certain solutions based on where you think your data is most vulnerable, you should understand that a cyberattack and/or data breach can happen just about anywhere. The Data Security Lifecycle has several phases and is deceivingly long, giving cybercriminals and unauthorized users countless different opportunities to get their hands on your most sensitive data. It’s certainly important to address your organization’s weakest points first, but neglecting the points where a breach is unexpected would be a tremendous mistake.
5. Understand Any Relevant Compliance Regulations
If your current data security plan doesn’t already address regulatory compliance, then this should be considered a top priority when crafting a new plan or improving your current one. Regardless of whether your organization is required to comply with GDPR, PCI DSS, CUI, or a multitude of other compliance laws, your security solutions must address the requirements of those regulations. Failing to follow compliance laws can have steep financial consequences, so if adding even one extra layer to your data security plan would mean avoiding potentially millions in fines, the extra step is beyond worth the cost.
6. Establish, Communicate, and Follow a Corporate Data Security Policy
By now, you may be at the point where you have a good idea of which solutions will best protect your organization’s sensitive data and ensure regulatory compliance. Even before deploying those solutions, though, there are a few more things to consider, beginning with creating and enforcing your organization’s Corporate Data Security Policy. While many modern solutions will automate security processes in one way or another, having a flexible corporate data security policy detailing all your organization's core cybersecurity measures that can change with the company and be modified to better serve each department is instrumental in keeping your data protected throughout its lifecycle.
A data loss prevention platform can give you greater visibility and help your organization classify, protect, and control its most sensitive data. By following your organization’s policies, it can also ensure that your data isn’t lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized users.
7. Ensure Adequate Visibility Over Your Employees
While establishing and communicating a corporate data security policy is a great start, properly enforcing the standards it sets will be nearly impossible if you don’t have a high-enough level of visibility over your employees. If you aren’t quite confident enough that your employees are following your organization’s data security policies, adding Vera’s Digital Rights Management to your package of solutions could serve as a way of ensuring only the right eyes can see your data.
8. Employ a Zero Trust Data Security Model
It’s worth mentioning yet again that a data breach can happen just about anywhere, and because cybercriminals are only becoming more advanced with their attacks, organizations need to adapt quickly. For this reason, the traditional, perimeter-based “castle-and-moat” approach to network security is becoming increasingly obsolete in favor of Zero Trust Architecture. This data security model, unlike a perimeter-based approach, does not assume that someone is trustworthy simply because they’ve been granted access to information in the past. Rather, Zero Trust always requires verification so as to allow the least amount of access possible.
By employing a Zero Trust data security model, you will help to ensure that a cybercriminal cannot falsely pose as someone with security clearance. Even if a breach still does occur, though, this will also help to ensure that the attack can be mitigated quickly while compromising as little sensitive data as possible.
9. Layer Data Security Solutions
There’s a good chance that you’ve already come to this conclusion by now, but it’s well worth reiterating. The single best way to protect your data throughout its entire lifecycle and successfully implement a Zero Trust data security model is to layer multiple, integrated security capabilities. Layering security capabilities will help to ensure that your data stays in the right hands at all times, but if a breach still does occur, it can be mitigated as quickly and easily as possible.
10. Prepare for the Worst Possible Outcome
Even with a comprehensive data security plan in place, the chance of a data breach occurring will never truly be eliminated. Establishing protocols in the case that a breach does occur as well as setting up a safety net for the potential fallout is critical in ensuring that a breach won’t result in a fatal blow to your organization. Investing in cyber insurance is a reliable means of protecting your organization, its employees, and anyone whose sensitive data may have been compromised in a breach.
Fortra Is Here to Simplify the Process
Improving your existing data security plan, let alone creating one from scratch, can be a frustrating and tedious process, so our goal is to make it easy. Take a look at our various data security solutions, figure out which ones may suit your needs, and when you’re ready, come speak with one of our experts to have a suite of solutions personally crafted for you.