4 Important Principles of Securing Sensitive Data

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Modern businesses depend on using sensitive data in their daily operations. This type of information is needed to complete online purchases and other functions. If this data falls into the wrong hands, the risks are enormous.

 As a business, you have the responsibility to secure sensitive data. Here are the four essential principles that you should implement in your procedures.

Identify your sensitive data

If you want to make sure that your data is secure, you need to define it. This will help you better understand the information you have, its flow,  and who has access to it. This will help you identify the process and the possible vulnerabilities.

Your business stores personal data in different ways. Consider all the equipment you have, such as computers, laptops, drives, and employees’ home computers and smartphones. Consider other sources, such as websites, contractors, and call centers. Analyze the flow of information, who sends it, and how you receive and collect it. It would be best if you were very careful with credit card numbers and social security numbers. This type of personal information is prone to theft, as it can be used to create a fake identity.

When you have an idea about the information you store, keep only the ones you need. Don’t store credit card numbers or social security numbers if you really don’t need them. Check the software that collects sensitive data from your customers and make sure that it collects only the required info. Sites like take extraordinary measures to protect the financial information of the users to prevent misuse.

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Good protection

The protection methods depend on the type of information that you store. These are the options you have available:

  • Physical security is all about keeping essential data in a locked room. The access should be limited. This method is best for storing paper documents and drives.
  • Electronic security is meant to protect the computer system. You should identify the computer servers where sensitive data is stored, their connection, and the possibility of attacks.
  • Password management is about controlling access to crucial data by protecting passwords. Standard practices include the use of strong passwords and educating the employees about protecting their passwords.
  • Laptop security helps you control the data on laptops. Teach our employees to keep their laptops safe. Also, use advanced options such as the “auto-destroy” function and use wiping programs to delete data permanently.
  • Use firewall software to protect the data from potential hacker attacks.

Proper disposal practices

Disposing of sensitive information is a significant business concern. If you don’t do it right, you risk giving it to the wrong hands. When it comes to paper documents, you have a few methods available such as burning and shredding. Delete data from old computers with wipe utility programs. Track the disposal practices of your remote employees as well.

Plan possible incidents

Hacker attacks can happen at any time. It is always better that you are fully prepared and have a plan B in case something goes wrong. Plan your strategies on how to respond to potential threats. Designate an employee that would be responsible for managing the crisis. Know exactly who you have to contact in the event of trouble. Other parties will be affected, such as your partners, customers, so you need to act fast. Consult with a specialist to know which parties you have to contact by law. In some cases, you are required to notify law enforcement or other institutions. A clear plan will set up guidelines for possible scenarios.

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