Data—especially information pertaining to identity, security and finance—has become increasingly valuable over time. As a result, private businesses and other organizations that deal with sensitive information have become more susceptible to attacks by data thieves. In the wrong hands, the information that your organization uses to help customers and stay profitable could become a devastating weapon. Learn how to protect your business by understanding basic data security practices.
A data theft can do untold damage to your business’s internal functions, not to mention your customers’ trust in you. The average cost of a data security breach is $6.5 million, according to the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study—a blow that your business most likely can’t afford. One of the most significant effects of a data theft is the damage done to your customers. For example, financial institutions like banks store the sensitive personal data of millions of people. If accessed with malicious intent, this information could compromise customers’ financial security and their identities. Imagine how much business you would lose, not to mention the expense of trying to win your customers’ trust back.
When it comes to the security breaches that do occur, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that most security breaches are the result of human error, which means that corporations and other organizations that lose important information to data thieves usually have no one to blame but themselves. However, the fact that human error is the primary factor in security breaches is also the good news, because this fact also means many of these breaches could be prevented with the right amount of precaution.
Companies need to be responsible and pragmatic about how they address data management, especially if they turn over IT equipment frequently, a category that includes data centers, law firms, financial firms, banks and healthcare facilities. Off-network IT equipment that is improperly handled is a potential source of cataclysmic data compromises: anyone, from an employee to an outside party, could potentially pose a threat to improperly disposed hardware and data-containing drives.
Secure data disposal needs to become an integral part of your business’s data management strategy. Make sure that all off-network IT equipment is handled by an experienced, reputable company that thoroughly shreds data or destroys data-containing hardware. Keystone Technology Management can destroy data on-site if needed, and we also comply with environmental regulations as a value-added service.
While data destruction is a key practice, you can integrate other precautions in your day-to-day business operations. Set up strong system passwords and firewalls plus antivirus protection to safeguard your network from outside threats, and encrypt mobile phones and laptops to avoid mobile attacks. Finally, train and educate employees in best practices for data security. This holistic approach will keep you and your customers safe from data theft.