Most businesses cannot function without data because it has become a central asset located at the core of most business processes. Data security is an essential part of managing a business successfully. It provides customers with the confidence that their data is handled securely. Businesses collect all kinds of sensitive information from their operations and customers. Data security is how businesses choose to keep this information safe.
It is always important to know who is viewing a business’ information online and what they are doing with it. Data that isn’t protected is much easier to access by hackers and outside sources. This data can then be used to hack into real people’s accounts, make loans and claims, transfer funds, make fraudulent purchases and hold businesses for ransom.
Even a small volume of stolen data can be a major issue for a business. Therefore, a business has to put careful measures in place to ensure data is effectively protected at all times. An online security company or an experienced IT specialist can assist a business to design an effective data security strategy.
The Parts Data Protection Consists of and Who Can Assist With Data Protection
When gathering, storing and managing data, the following aspects fall under the data security umbrella:
- Legitimate and lawful processing of data
- The limitation of purpose when working with data
- Minimisation and retention of data
Before processing any data, owners must be thoroughly informed about the processing method, including its purposes, the sort of data collected, the recipients of the data and their rights to data protection.
Mobile devices, the cloud and the Internet of Things have all dissolved the conventional limits of the network. Therefore, businesses have to invest in network security from a more strategic and holistic perspective.
Data protection is a complicated field and many businesses do not have the knowledge or resources internally to put proper security in place. As a result, the majority of businesses make use of outside parties to ensure effective protection of data.
Businesses can hire an online security agency or a team of IT experts. This team should ideally include an IT support specialist and an IT security specialist. These specialists should have the capacity to embrace a data-centric security strategy, use encryption across the board, protect data in the cloud, exercise vigilance for patch management and educate employees.
A security company or IT professional typically works hand-in-hand with a business to find out exactly what type of data is collected and managed and what customers expect from the business when it comes to data security.
Many businesses may think that the IT programmer salary is too expensive and, as a result, will cut corners with data security. However, it is important to remember that the IT professionals cost is minimal compared to the huge losses of a data breach.
Ways a Data Security Breach Could Impact an Organization
There are several costly consequences of security breaches. Some of these include:
- Financial impact
The most prominent effect data breaches have on organizations is financial. A single attack can initially cost millions of dollars and this cost can stretch over several years. While these types of costs are significant for any business, they’re more than enough to completely ruin a small or mid-sized company.
- Loss of intellectual property
With some data breaches, hackers will target unique designs, strategies and other intellectual property. This can cause a great loss of valuable time, effort and capital.
- Loss of reputation
If an organization has been breached and its data exposed, it can result in a major loss of trust when it comes to business relationships. In turn, this can also lead to a decline in customers and sales.
- Legal responsibility
Once an organization is responsible for others’ data, it has to adhere to data privacy laws. In the unfortunate event of a breach, the organization is often held liable and will face fines or other legal punishments.
- Extra costs
Surface-level costs are just the start of the expenses involved in data breaches. There are also several hidden costs. This can include legal, public relations and investigations fees, as well as insurance premium hikes.
- Business continuity
Any data breach can do lasting damage to an organization. There are various ways an attack can impact an organization, including the loss of funds, customer trust and productivity as well as possibly facing legal action. These consequences can greatly affect the sale of an organization in the future.
Organizations have to fully understand the far-reaching consequences that a breach could have on their business if they want to reduce risk and guard against attacks.
Why Consumers Should Care About Data Security
Today, consumers manage much of their lives online, however, very few realize the significant issue of privacy and how personal information is collected, used and shared by businesses. Their data can be saved indefinitely and handled in both advantageous and undesirable ways.
Considering this, it is incredibly important for internet users to carefully analyze every website they visit and every online store they want to purchase from. This can include the following steps:
- Check for an SSL certificate
An SSL certificate is used to secure all data that is transferred from the browser to the site’s server. Users can simply check if the URL begins with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP”. This indicates that the website is secured using a certificate.
- Use security tools to assess the website
With an antivirus tool installed it can show a user when a site is secure.
- Identify who owns the website
Verifying who owns a website is an easy task. All websites must be registered in the name of a legal entity or individual. Various websites allow users to look up the ownership of a website.
- Look for reviews
The easiest way to find out if a site is trustworthy is to look at user reviews. This will indicate if a business can be trusted and whether it has had security breaches in the past.
Protecting the Future of an Organization
Data breaches continue to rise around the world. Even with the larger focus being placed on security, cybercriminals are constantly finding new methods and techniques to bypass protection to gain access to valuable data.
To avoid major loss during a data breach, every business should invest in effective data security and an incident response plan. By making sure that the data of a business, its customers and employees are held secure, it can safeguard its reputation and the public opinion of the business, establishing an organization that can be trusted.