How to keep your company's data safe

Data Protection Day 2019: Keeping Your Company’s Data Safe

In this digital era, millions of people are unaware of how their personal information is being used, collected or shared.

Data Protection Day on 28 January 2019 is an annual event led by the National Cyber Security Alliance to promote data protection best practice. It aims to educate individuals and businesses on how to protect their data and better control their digital footprint.

To celebrate Data Protection Day 2019 and promote the importance of good data management, we’ve outlined 6 key ways to keep your company safe from data theft.

6 ways to keep your company’s data safe

1. Locate your data

Businesses typically store their data in multiple locations: on servers; on cloud hosting; on personal devices such as computers, laptops or smartphones; or through email, wifi and other transmissions.

Knowing how your data is collected and where it resides is essential to keeping it safe. Create a data inventory to help you manage your data processing tasks and identify any potential security risks with the way you collect, process, share and store data.

2. Protect your physical data

Despite living in a digital age, physical data shouldn’t be treated any differently to electronic data. Paper documents and printed files left on desks or stored in unlocked cupboards provide a rich hunting ground for thieves looking to steal your information.

Lock essential files in a safe location or hire a professional archiving and document management company to oversee the secure storage and retrieval of your files.

Any redundant papers that you no longer need should be destroyed. A professional document shredding service can facilitate this process by securely destroying your paper and removing it from your premises to be recycled.

3. Create a data safe culture

Educate your employees on your IT security policy and reiterate the risks involved in their online transactions and daily handling of data. Make them aware of the latest fraud and phising scams, the dangers of clicking on suspicious links in unsolicited emails and the importance of locking their computer screen when they leave the room.

The education process needn’t be expensive and can be seamlessly integrated into your staff induction scheme. You can also provide ad-hoc or regular updates if there are any new or sufficiently menacing threats staff need to be made aware of.

4. Manage your passwords

According to a recent study by CompTIA , human error accounts for 52% of the root causes of security breaches, with many of the errors relating to poor password management.

Remind employees to update their passwords regularly. Ideally they should follow these guidelines for successful password management:

  • Passwords should contain at least 8 characters
  • Use upper case and lower case
  • Use numbers and symbols
  • Don’t include personal details (e.g. child or partner’s name, birthdays, the street you live in)
  • Use different passwords for each of your online accounts

Consider using a password management system to generate random and robust passwords which are stored in encrypted format, making them extremely difficult for hackers to access.

5. Update your software

Every piece of software used in the day-to-day running of your business should be updated with the latest security patches. Enable auto-updates on your anti-virus software so the updating process is seamless and hassle-free. These measure will help to protect your data and computers from the latest viruses and scams.

6. Recycle your old IT equipment

When you replace old IT equipment, don’t stockpile the redundant items in your store cupboard or leave them lying around the office, providing thieves with easy access to your data.

Hire a professional computer shredding service to destroy your equipment, or recycle your items so they can be reused elsewhere. An IT recycling company will remove all sensitive data from your old equipment before it is recycled, giving you peace of mind your data has been securely and safely destroyed.

Don’t get caught out this Data Protection Day! SDR can help to keep your company’s data secure with our document shredding and IT recycling service. We cater for all sizes of company, from small businesses and corporate organisations to the education and health sectors. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.