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Data Loss Prevention Tips Every Business Owner Must Know

By Arleen Atienza

May 21 2021 - As a business, one of the most important responsibilities you have to your customers is to protect their data. Data loss protection (DLP) is a strategy to ensure data protection. With AI and automation starting to play a more significant role in businesses, this technology can now also be used to protect your most sensitive corporate data.

Why is data loss prevention important?

Data can be exploited. When you have access to data, especially sensitive data, it is your responsibility to store it securely. Otherwise, a data breach can have very damning consequences. This is why protecting corporate data should be one of your top priorities.

Compliance

With the knowledge of what ill-intentioned people can do with stolen data, countries now have strict privacy and data security laws and regulations that companies are compelled to follow. The consequences for non-compliance are dire. From hefty fines to the revocation of business licenses, not following the regulations set by individual jurisdictions regarding data privacy can run the possibility of knocking your business back a few steps.

Company reputation

Companies that do not protect their clients’ information will definitely garner a bad reputation. Bad reputation is bad for business. Companies have lost their customer base due to data breaches and scandals that involved their name. Loss of customers will translate to a significant loss of revenue, and regaining customers’ trust is a constant uphill battle. You have to constantly prove yourself to be trustworthy.

Intellectual property protection

Your company could have trade secrets or important intellectual property that needs to be protected from people who are looking to steal them from right under your nose. Data loss prevention is important to prevent data theft and protect your company’s financial health and future. If your intellectual property is not protected, infiltration and data theft could cause you to fall behind as companies who were made privy to your trade secrets move ahead of you while using your data.

So with these in mind, how do you prevent data theft and strengthen your DLP process?

Data loss prevention tips

You need a proper data loss prevention policy in place. And you would need to have a DLP security checklist. Having that will ensure that you don’t miss a crucial step. Below are some tips that will help you build a DLP strategy and make data prevention something that involves everyone in your company, and not just IT security personnel.

Educate your employees

Working under the assumption that your employees know what data privacy means is akin to playing with lit matches while surrounded by flammable materials. Chances are, your employees might not even have data privacy in their radar. They may not know how important passwords are and how it is crucial to never share it with anyone, even their managers. Or they may not know how not to open that particular email because it looks suspicious.

A surefire way to make sure that everyone in the company knows exactly what data privacy means and the consequences of data leaks is to train every employee about data privacy. The simplest way to do this is offer online courses within your own system and make it mandatory for your employees to take the course annually. This also means that you need to update these courses accordingly. Data privacy laws are constantly evolving as quickly as technology and IT security are.

Automation helps

The best thing about automation is that, when applied to data security. Things like monitoring at risk employees, passwords and access can be turned into automated tasks. Automation allows your system to monitor for data breaches, risks, and red flags with the bare minimum human intervention.

Automated systems can even detect possible internal threats before they become an actual threat to your data security. They can track internal activity and spot any unusual trends that could lead to a possible data breach. Automation also makes it easier for you to set parameters and update them according to new regulations or guidelines mandated by the governing body in your area.

Data encryption

Your data can be stolen in various stages: while they are stored in your database; while they are "in motion" like in emails or messages; even while your employee has their desktops open and someone takes a picture of what is on their screens. This is why data encryption is very important.

Data encryption is taking readable data (plaintext) and making it unreadable (ciphertext) by using encryption algorithms and encryption keys. So should your data be stolen, unless the thieves have a way to decrypt it by using the right key, they will not be able to use your data at all. This protects your data from being read by people who have no clearance to have access to it.

Conclusion

Data privacy is everyone’s concern and keeping data secure is everybody’s responsibility. Ensuring that you have the proper security programs in place will go a long way in keeping your customer, IP, and corporate data secure.

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