A single data breach costs the average company around $4.24 million. This high number is enough to drive any SMB into the ground, so it’s critical that you prioritize data loss prevention and secure your information.
Luckily, this is easier than ever before with data protection best practices and expert-level tools. Read on to learn some ways that you can improve your company’s data loss prevention policy today.
Understand Data Loss Prevention
Companies work with untold amounts of data daily. This information may be transmitted via email, file transfers, and other company messaging tools and applications. Data loss prevention (DLP) is an umbrella term that refers to methods of stopping unauthorized users from accessing and stealing this data.
These strategies are necessary because data loss means financial loss. Losing employee or consumer data also tarnishes your reputation, decreases employee satisfaction rates, and drives clients towards competitors. It can also leave you susceptible to lawsuits when identifying or financial data is compromised.
But how can you implement a solid data loss prevention strategy? There are four essential components to keeping your information protected and secure.
Evaluate, Identify, and Categorize Data
The first step is to evaluate the ways that your organization currently uses data. Look into what data is being used and who is accessing it regularly. You need to work around the needs of authorized users when implementing tools on Google Workspace.
For instance, if your customer service representatives are accessing client accounts and orders, you need to ensure that your protection software doesn’t stop this. Installing a firewall on their system may keep them out and stop efficient customer service. You need a workaround, whether that’s a different tool or simply an authorized-user authentication system.
Identifying the data that each department and employee use is a simple process. IT experts and managers can simply look at the network and see which tools and applications get the most traffic. You can also talk to employees about the systems that they most rely on for their daily operations.
Data then should be framed in terms of categories. Examples of categories might include ‘financial data’ or ‘client identity information.’ Once you have solid categories, you can make different rules that outline the handling of different data types.
Trace Data Transmission Routes
The next thing that you need to do is learn how data is transmitted throughout your business. Understanding the regular movements of information lets you know what trends are normal. You can then look for blips and alterations in usual trends to identify when something is wrong.
Look into the categories that you have established. This will show you how different types of data are used so that you know where information should be stored and moved to. This will give you some context for the ways that you can prevent unauthorized access.
It can also help you discover what data needs to be moved to a different source. You want different categories of data stored together for easy access and easier protection. Make sure that you migrate data between public, private, and hybrid cloud platforms to get everything in the right place.
Prevent Unauthorized Data Access
The next step to a solid DLP strategy is the actual prevention of unauthorized access. The first way that you can do this is by installing multi-factor authentication and professional firewall features. This is a way to proactively prevent breaches and stop hackers and malware from penetrating your network.
In addition to all-around network protection, consider encrypting different data categories or locations separately. This way, it will be challenging for malware to permeate the ’employee information’ category (for example) even if infiltrates the broader network. It’s essentially an extra layer of security for your most sensitive data.
You also need to constantly monitor security patches and keep current on addressing vulnerabilities. Run ethical hacking simulations to find these vulnerabilities and then get to work on filling those gaps in. Knowing and preventing specific ways that your system can be breached ensures that you don’t have any unknown holes that cybercriminals can exploit.
The previous DLP step of tracking data transmission routes is also important when preventing unauthorized access. Witnessing regular use trends keeps you in the know of what should be happening on your system. Changes in trends mean it’s time to talk to your IT providers and troubleshoot issues ASAP.
Backups for Important Data
Finally, backing up your data is essential for a good DLP policy. Backups are essentially when you update all information on your network to a second secure location. You can access anything saved during a backup at any time even after a breach takes place.
Let’s say that the worst happens and your information is lost or stolen. This is possible regardless of how good a DLP system you have. Data loss prevention drastically lowers the chances of a breach, but sometimes you just have bad luck.
Having a backup of your data mitigates a bit of the risk. While it still will have been stolen, you will continue to have the ability to access your data. This is especially important for company information that you need for your day-to-day operations.
However, having a backup can also help with employee or client personal/financial data loss. Without this information, it will be difficult to inform people that their data was compromised. It’s essential that you’re open with victims of a breach so that they can troubleshoot the problem sooner.
Train Employees Appropriately
Did you know that around 88% of all data breaches are a direct result of human error? Stanford University researchers worked with cybersecurity experts to find that employee mistakes can cause a lot of problems.
The study also found that employees are aware of the issues that they may have caused. Over half of the workforce is fairly sure that they may have made a mistake that could have caused a breach.
Luckily, human error is a pretty easy problem to mitigate. Employee training and education are a core facet of any good DLP strategy.
Training them in how to use the tools that they regularly use is critical. You don’t want user error that results from inappropriate knowledge. Make sure that you run through how to use the tools, demonstrate their functionality, and send them user handbooks that they can refer back to.
Phishing is one of the biggest issues that companies face. This happens when cybercriminals send out malicious emails that contain viruses. When an employee clicks these emails, a bug is installed on the machine and moves throughout the entire network to steal data.
People tend to click phishing emails because they perceive them to be legitimate. 41% of clickers believe that these emails actually came from a company higher-up and 40% think that they came from a well-known brand. This information comes from the same Stanford study that discusses the role of human error.
Teaching employees what to look for in their emails is important. You need to show them how to identify legitimate emails vs those that are intended to scam them. Let them know how your company and IT team will work to ensure that they know which emails are real and which ones may be malicious.
45% of employees also stated that they fell for phishing scams because they were distracted at work. Simple monitoring of employee behavior could have stopped this issue. Make sure that you are always on top of what your workers are doing and how they may be struggling.
Install the Right Security Tools
Ultimately, having the right security tools is the most important part of data loss prevention. This means hiring experts that understand cloud security solutions and how to implement them onto a network. Top managed service providers like NetKiller offer enterprise-grade security technologies to companies of all sizes and types.
Having the right tools for your specific cloud or on-premise network is essential so that you can perform all steps of data loss prevention. It also helps you to be compliant with regulations within your industry. We’re delighted to meet your company’s specific needs within your market.
Data security providers will also help you migrate all data to a secure cloud computing system. Specifically, Google Workspace DLP solutions will offer security to your entire domain. This necessitates migration to this particular cloud system. They will put up barriers on the cloud system to keep unauthorized users out. Since these experts also have professional-level knowledge and perform routine updates, it’s essential that you invest in managed outsourced security services.
While data loss prevention might sound like a challenge, it’s essential for the safety of your business and employees. It’s also much simpler when you have the appropriate technology to classify and protect your data. Now that you know about data security and how you can stay protected, it’s time to get started.
We’re committed to providing you with Cloud solutions and other managed data services. Contact Netkiller with any remaining questions that you have about data loss prevention and to get started with our expert tools.