5 Tips to Help Protect Critical Company Data

Nov 27 2013

5 tips on how to protect your company data
Recently I attended a very interesting webinar and it made me ponder on the term Information Security. The synopsis of the theme was that, while Information Security has “information” in the name, we spend more time protecting our technologies and devices than we do figuring out what information is most critical to our businesses, and then catering to protect that critical company data.
Right now data thieves are doing a good job stealing sensitive information. Studies show that since 2005, more than 600 million records have been breached, and the stakes continue to rise as companies struggle to protect data in the face of increasingly complicated regulatory requirements.
Some shared revelations from WatchGuard’s recent data loss research.

  1. 64 percent of respondents report having data sharing and usage policies, yet only 30 percent have data loss prevention solutions in place.
  2. While the top data loss threats include malicious insiders and criminal hackers, the number one threat is accidental data loss.

To help illustrate this data security problem, WatchGuard demonstrated how unskilled attackers could easily leverage SQL injection flaws to siphon off critical information from our backend databases. Using freely available tools like SQLmap, almost anyone can steal email addresses, credentials, and even credit card numbers from badly programmed e-commerce sites.
Of course, the point of the presentation wasn’t to alarm, but to remedy. To that end, 5 simple steps were proposed to allow organizations to protect their critical data assets.
Let’s jump into the five tips:

  1. Do a Data Inventory – What sensitive data does your organization have? Where do you store this data? Why does the organization need this data? Who needs access to it? How do they use the data? You need to find out in order to protect it.
  2. Create a Data Policy – Good information security always starts with a well-thought out policy. Even the best security technologies cannot replace good planning.
  3. Leverage Access Control – You may already have many good tools to help, such as OS authentication, identity access management, firewalls, network ACL and other security controls. But, are you using them? The simple step of segmenting your trusted users from one another based on their roles can help.
  4. Use Encryption – Encryption can be expensive but for data, at rest and in motion, it is vital for sensitive documents. However, you don’t have to encrypt everything. If you learn where your organization stores its most vital data, you can concentrate on just encrypting that.
  5. Adopt DLP Technology – Vendors are offering cost-effective and easy-to-use solutions that can help organizations detect and block sensitive data at rest, in use and in motion. Consider Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions that integrate DLP technology and allow it to be centrally managed through a single console. Gateway-based DLP technologies found on UTM devices can solve a big portion of the problem for a fraction of the cost and complexity of other solutions.

With the proper precautions in place, there’s little real excuse for accidental data loss today. There are strategies you can employ that help you identify your company’s most critical data, techniques you can use to limit access to it, and solutions available that will recognize violations and keep your data safe; thus meeting today’s compliance standards and regulation.
Mantralogix is a WatchGuard Secure Partner and a WatchGuard Managed Security Service Provider.  We can help provide organizations with both defense-in-depth, and the latest gateway DLP technology that prevents most common data leaks.  Call us today!

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