What You Did Not Do in 2017 to Prevent Data Loss

We all know data loss is an issue. We see stories in the news media of large airlines or financial services compromising large quantities of sensitive information, some of which could have been very preventable. However, it’s not just big businesses that are a target. Roughly half of all data loss happens internally, either by malicious intent, or inadvertently. This means that any employee in a business that holds information online and in computer systems could potentially lose your company’s data. We’ve outlined some of the key things you probably didn’t do in 2017 so you can get your company ready for 2018.

  1. Back it up

This doesn’t just mean occasionally getting out a hard drive to double save the important stuff. Every company should have a backup procedure for their files. Of course, it’s sensible to employ more security measures for more sensitive files, but a data loss protection plan will ensure that files are being regularly protected and can therefore be restored if a loss of data occurs.

  1. Multiple backup points

One backup point has been proven to be not enough for truly sensitive data. Apply the 3-2-1 rule as part of your data loss protection plan. Information that needs to be highly protected has 3 backups, general day-to-day information that has much less importance has 1, and give moderate level information 2 backup points. It also helps to have offsite backups as well. Particularly when there is an external breach, it can affect entire physical locations due to how malware operates in shutting providers down.

  1. Get your audit on

One of the easiest ways for data to slip through the cracks, either intentionally or by an employee’s mistake, is when systems aren’t up to date. You would be amazed how much of your software and hardware needs patches and upgrades. Auditing is the perfect end of year job to go into 2018 with a fresh start and an updated system. Often it doesn’t end up being super expensive – you’re probably already aware of the big-ticket items that need to be upgraded.

  1. Sort out a communication plan

You can’t single-handedly prevent data loss from your company, but you can empower your employees to take heed and ensure that the systems that you have in place are working correctly. Surveys and feedback loops are a great way of winning employee engagement. Ask them how they use the data – they are the ones who are handling it day-to-day after all. And as you iterate and improve data loss protection plans, ask them for feedback. You’re much more likely to get buy-in if they feel that the way they work is being taken into account.

A great number of instances where critical company information is lost is often very preventable. We say preventable because backups are a huge part of protecting your company from potential data breaches. Ensure that, if anything goes wrong, you’re still able to access the information from another endpoint.

Any good data loss protection strategy starts with a review of the status quo so do a full audit of the ‘goings-on’ of your data, software and hardware – and be critical about where there’s room for improvement. Next, get your employees onboard to ensure that any efforts are fully integrated within all areas of the company. A thorough and well-thought out data loss protection plan can save your company huge fines, loss of reputation and potential loss of business.