How to Use DLP to Secure PHI & Better Comply with Healthcare Regulations

Advances in technology have caused vast improvements to patient care in the healthcare industry. While healthcare administration has become more efficient, healthcare providers are able to offer improved patient care by reading patient data from sophisticated equipment in real time and being able to get specialists in different locations to offer professional advice on a specific patient’s treatment.

With this, of course, comes the risks involved with electronic data. Many of the publicized concerns, in the media particularly, lie with external threats, but almost half of all data loss happens internally, because of accidental or intentional and malicious release of sensitive information.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to use data loss protection (DLP) to better secure protected health information (PHI) in line with industry regulations.

What does PHI cover?

The key information covered in PHI includes, but is not necessarily limited to information about:

  • Health status
  • Provision of health care
  • Payment for health care

There are specific indicators, such as, in terms of location details, anything more specific than an individual’s state is protected. These can be found, as well as a full breakdown of the law, here.

Using DLP strategy

DLP strategy is much more than just rolling out expensive software for employees to use and ensure you’re covered. In fact, lawmakers will look at much more than just the technology employed if you are facing prosecution and liability for any internal data breach.

  1. Staff accountability

All staff, from HR personnel, to specialist healthcare professionals, IT departments and administrative staff should be on-board with the healthcare institution’s DLP strategy. They should understand it and be actively employing it. This means effectively communicating it to all staff through policies and procedures. Often some of these can be implemented in the actual DLP technology, meaning staff are getting real time updates on how they are using the DLP strategy, what they’re doing right and wrong, and how to improve.

  1. Identification and prioritization

Prioritizing how and what patient information should be deemed sensitive and how much DLP should be applied can be tricky. However, the laws around PHI help with this as they breakdown quite specifically what needs to be protected. From there, it is a matter of figuring out where that data lies and how the DLP technology can protect it.

  1. Audit, monitor and scale

It’s unrealistic to assume that a healthcare establishment, such as a large hospital, can protect every piece of information immediately. Budgeting and resource constraints get in the way. Additionally, new technology is always being implemented in the healthcare industry so rolling out a single DLP strategy that rigidly stays in place for the next decade will not do the job that lawmakers are expecting it to.

Instead, potential sources from which data can leak should constantly be assessed as they arise, data movement should be tracked to look for abnormalities and irregularities. And, audits should take place on how effectively the DLP strategy has been in ensuring the protection of patient information.

US lawmakers are serious about data loss protection in the healthcare industry and the laws around them are enforced, with individuals sometimes facing fines up to $250,000 if they are found to be liable. Ensure that your healthcare institution complies with industry regulations by working with your DLP company to create an effective, well-communicated strategy that protects you and, most importantly, your patients.

5 Ways to Overcome Healthcare Compliance and Security Risks

In order to ensure optimal patient safety and care, healthcare is one of the most standardized industries in the world. Particularly in countries like the US, where liability risks are enormous, hospitals are directing huge amounts of resource to ensure that they are compliant with national, and even international standards, to avoid scrutiny and liability.

The security threat that comes with the increase in mobility and remote technology, means that hospitals also have to be incredibly vigilant about data loss protection (DLP) and the threat that internal sources pose, both maliciously and by accident, in the release of sensitive data. Failure to do so can result in huge fines, a loss of reputation and risks to patient safety. Here are 5 ways that healthcare institutions can look to overcome compliance and security risks:

1.Software

In a study conducted by Ponemon Insititute LLC, it was found that only 23% of respondents in the healthcare industry were using data loss protection software to prevent against internal data breach. A huge amount of resource is often put towards preventing external threats through anti-malware and anti-virus programs but almost half of all data loss comes from internal sources. DLP software addresses the source of all information – how it operates and moves internally – and therefore helps to prevent its movement externally.

2.Communication

Data loss protection strategies, plans and software are only as good as how they are used and enforced. This requires a great deal of communication from IT departments as well as top level staff at healthcare institutions. A DLP strategy must be used by everyone handling patient information, which involves clear policies and procedures for staff to follow to ensure no accidental breaches, preferably integrated into the DLP software in real-time.Of course, a DLP plan that employs certain overrides can assist with this – for instance, blocking the download of data via a USB port, if that is appropriate.

3.Visibility

Visibility and accountability go hand-in-hand when it comes to overcoming security risks in hospitals, particularly those that are internal malicious threats. Employing a system that clearly identifies and tracks the movement of sensitive data, as well as ensuring that user information is connected to that movement, wards off malicious behavior. If the person wishing to release sensitive data knows that there is a higher likelihood that it could be tracked back to them, they will be less likely to do so.

4.Secure encryption

New healthcare protocols globally, and particularly in the US, mean that it is no longer acceptable for hospitals to not be encrypting their data. In the US, this can mean both civil suits and large fines, sometimes up to $250,000 for the individual responsible. The compliance protocols state that any breach that occurs involving sensitive data that was not protected (encrypted) must be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. Encrypted data that is breached, however, does not need to be reported and is not penalized. It is viewed that the hospital took the necessary steps with a DLP plan to prevent such an occurrence and is therefore, not liable. Investing in encryption is a preventable measure that can significantly reduce large fines and lawsuits.

5.Scaling

Hospitals, as we know, are incredibly large institutions and therefore employing a rigorous DLP strategy to meet with compliance requires a huge amount of resource, which often can’t be met in a single financial year. Working with a good DLP company means that you should be able to employ an effective DLP strategy that takes care of the essentials to meet protocols immediately. But can then be scaled up and be fluid enough to change for the upgraded technology that is always occurring in the healthcare industry.

A good DLP strategy is more than just software. Especially when it comes to internal threats, it’s essential that a DLP strategy understands how people think and behave in order to overcome healthcare compliance and security risks. Preventative measure such as encryption and communication can help avoid the accidental breach of data. Clear visibility and accountability can assist in preventing a purposeful and malicious breach, while also ensuring that healthcare compliance protocols are truly met.

The Shocking Facts About Data Loss Protection You Didn’t Know

Data loss is, quite simply, a reality for businesses operating in the 21st century. It is often thought about as caused by external threats such as cyber attacks. But data loss is also caused by internal threats and is often more dangerous as it can affect companies of any size. We’ve rounded up some shocking facts about data loss protection you need to know about:

Over 50% of critical corporate data sits on unprotected PCs

Remote work has only really started to come into its own in the last five years and it is increasing at a truly rapid pace. Unfortunately, businesses do not seem to be ensuring that their DLP and cyber security plans keep up with the way their industries are changing. Personal computers, particularly laptops, but also home desktops possess the same levels of risk when it comes to internal loss of data. 

Small businesses that experience drastic data loss go out of business within a year

Probably the most shocking statistic for SME and SMB owners. The harsh reality is that, if a sufficient DLP strategy is not put in place, you may lose data via internal sources. Sometimes it’s malicious, sometimes it comes from simply a careless click.

Think about your company’s most sensitive data and what its release would mean in terms of a worst case scenario. Would you be financially liable to the individuals concerned? Would it ruin your company’s reputation? Are you likely to be seriously affected if a competitor sees your intellectual property? If the answer to any of these is yes, you should be seriously considering updating your DLP strategy, or implementing one if you don’t have it already. 

75% of all mobile apps fail a basic security test

Regardless of whether you supply employees with a company mobile or if you have a Bring Your Own Device policy, your employees will install apps on their phone.  This is both an internal and an external threat. The employee installs an app on their phone that does not have sufficient security – an internal threat. The levels of encryption that you have put in place can now be breached – an external threat. A good DLP strategy will see that you have buy-in with your employees to ensure that they know the risk of what they are downloading and outline necessary steps and criteria to follow.

Cyber crime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021

And cyber crime is reportedly the fastest growing crime in the United States. While this refers to all cyber crime, not just internal data loss, it still sits as an astounding figure. Data Loss Protection strategies work hand in hand with additional cyber security measures. Many of the precautions you take to protect against internal threats will also protect against external threats but it is essential that you address both so that your company does not contribute to this statistic.

Data loss protection is all about managing risk. You can’t eliminate it completely but its important to stay on top of where the trends and technology are moving to ensure that you have your company and its sensitive data covered. These facts will hopefully make you see the huge global impact of data loss and the effect that a well-communicated DLP strategy can have.

How To Know When It’s Time To Upgrade Your Data Loss Prevention Strategy

Tactics that involve prevention and protection always need constant upgrading, changing and reworking. As technology changes and people find new workarounds, so to do you need to continue finding new ways to upgrade your data loss prevention strategy. Obviously, this can be quite time-consuming and costly for small to medium enterprises, particularly, so a sensible approach is to consider when and why you should be looking to improve your data loss prevention (DLP) strategy. This knowledge will allow you to prioritise your company’s resource effectively to help protect against any breaches.

Know the culprit
While much of the attention about data loss points to outside threats from cyber-attackers, it’s estimated that more than 40% of all data breaches occur internally. These can be intentional, but they can also be due to just a careless click of the mouse. Being aware of how your data could be lost, is the first step to upgrading your strategy.

Assess your sensitive information
It’s not entirely realistic for a small or medium sized company to have a mammoth DLP strategy that protects all of the company’s information to a very high level. Nor do most companies want that as it often comes with an increased level of administration that would significantly decrease an employer’s output, were it to be applied to every file in the company.

So, assessing the files that your company has is crucial to know when to upgrade your DLP strategy. The easiest way to do this is to look at the worst-case scenario for each set of files that your company has. If someone were to accidentally send a file to the wrong person, or maliciously release it to the public, what would the ramifications be for your company, both in terms of financial and that of reputation.

Qualification
Then, qualify your data files into groups – high risk, medium risk and low risk. Most companies with internet security and data loss protection strategies will have all-encompassing security that includes all files, even those low risk. It’s the high risk and, to a lesser extent, the medium risk files that you need to have a strong DLP plan around.

It’s also worth being mindful of whether the strategy covers new files that are created. Is there a process that qualifies this data into the ‘risk buckets’ mentioned above? Your DLP strategy is only as good as how it’s being implemented. If you find that there are gaps when you go through the process yourself, it’s time to look at an upgrade.

Accepting technological change
It can be difficult for companies who have invested a great deal in a solution to look at making significant changes to it. Often there are stakeholders or other parties who may not realise the necessity in doing this and therefore the cause also has to be justified.

However, one of the biggest weaknesses of all DLP strategies is that they are reactive. They constantly have to be told what to look for – the kinds of encryptions and data formats, for instance. As we all know, technology is changing and progressing at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, those encryptions and formats are constantly changing and therefore an effective DLP strategy should be updated accordingly.

So, when? Well, the answer is constantly, but the good news is that there are plenty of affordable solutions of technology that can fill the gaps in your DLP strategy, rather than completely reworking the entire thing – an unnecessary exercise. Software such as classification software can help to combat the issue above and only serves to strengthen your DLP strategy in a cost-effective way.

Although it would be nice to have a set of rules in place to know exactly when to upgrade your DLP strategy, such a set of rules would be unrealistic and not flexible enough to take into account all of the changing variables. Instead, an approach that involves a full assessment, qualification and reworking is best when considering an upgrade.

Data Loss Statistics That Might Shock You Out of Complacency

data-securityWe hear about data loss statistics in the news media from time to time when large breaches occur, often in big multi-national companies or government departments. It’s rare for the news media to report the smaller data breaches as they are less exciting, yet this is where much of America’s data loss is occurring. Internal breaches where employees either accidentally lose data, or do so with malicious intent, happen on a daily basis. These statistics are to help give you an idea of how engrained and widespread the problem is for companies of all sizes:

43% of data breaches are internal
This is an alarming statistic and an often overlooked one. A common misconception is that loss of data occurs mainly from malicious cyber-attackers. While external breaches still count for over half of all data breaches, and are certainly on the rise, internal data breaches are also increasing and account for almost half of all data breaches.

If we were to break that number down even further, half of these breaches were done by accident, and half were intentional on behalf of the employees.

So, what does this mean for employers?
The problem is two-fold so it must be approached in the same way. Firstly, a process-driven approach can significantly lessen the number of breaches that occur by accident. A good data loss protection strategy that is effectively communicated to employees will help to protect companies, regardless of their size.

Secondly, it’s important for employees to consider if there are any environmental factors that may cause an employee to release data intentionally. If there is a high incentive for them to release specific information, such as financial reward or other gain, look at how well that data is protected and whether it is able to be accessed only by employees who need to.

Also look at your company culture and assess whether there is any emotional incentive. Disgruntled employees who perceive, rightly or wrongly, that they have not been well looked after, are often overlooked for the high risk that they present to companies. Sometimes, there’s absolutely nothing an employer can do to stop their employee feeling a certain way, hence the importance of a good data loss protection strategy. However, in many cases, these employees would present no risk at all if companies had sufficient processes and schemes in place that made the employee feel valued.

60-70% of all data breaches can warrant public disclosure
This statistic is the most harmful to the reputation of your company. It comes from an Intel study done in 2015 and is even more relevant now as internal data breaches are on the rise. Broken down, the study found that, specifically, 70% of incidents in smaller commercial organisations, SMEs or SMBs, warranted either public disclosure or had a negative financial impact.

So often, the focus around data breach is on infiltration, or attack from the outside and how to prevent it. However, as studies have shown, many breaches actually come from the inside of small to medium businesses. It’s important for employers and small business owners to take notice of these statistics and consider how they could affect their own companies. Our advice is to be mindful of the data that is in your company’s possession and look at ways to prevent it from being released internally through good company culture and an effective data loss protection strategy.

When You Should Switch To Biometrics For Data Protection

Once the territory of sci-fi films and fiction, these days, biometrics are a part of everyday technology. This kind of smart technology is all about using sophisticated means to identify an individual. This is especially relevant for data protection within companies, as it can assist to prevent the loss of data by more effectively assigning highly classified data to a specific individual. This individual can then only access the data using biological characteristics unique to them. What we’ll outline today is what exactly biometrics is, how it works, and when it is relevant to assist with data loss protection, particularly for small businesses.

What is biometrics?
Biometric verification is the use of biological traits to verify an individual’s identity. These traits can be both visible and invisible to the eye. Traits that are visible include things such as a fingerprint, retina or iris size, earlobe shape, and even things such as a person’s posture or the way they carry themselves. Less visible traits include things such as a heartbeat, voice waves, and DNA.

How does it apply to data protection?
Particularly with the advent of cloud-based computing and remote working, biometrics can assist with ensuring that end-point devices stay secure. Mobile devices, such as laptops and phones, are often the culprits from which data is lost from internal sources, either by accident or through malicious intent.

Biometric verification ensures that sensitive information can only be accessed by individuals of your choosing. This instills a greater sense of responsibility in those individuals to safeguard classified information, and also creates a disincentive to releasing the data maliciously. If the files are only handled by a certain number of people who can be biologically identified and therefore caught, it’s much less likely that they would release that data intentionally.

When should you apply it?
Biometrics already exist in many mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops. This means that generalized biometric technology can be implemented across the board by making smart decisions when upgrading these items as part of your business inventory. By integrating standardized biometrics as part of your data loss protection strategy, you can help to protect data loss, particularly from those who work remotely, but also across the board.

Most companies will have a series of files that are highly classified. Whether these contain sensitive personal information, or if they’re the company’s intellectual property, it is imperative to create much stronger incentives and disincentives against the accidental and malicious release of these files. A good way of beginning to integrate biometrics verification is to start with these files only. Unless you’re a large multinational, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to fully integrate highly sophisticated technology across the board. Instead, focus on ensuring that that technology goes towards protecting that highly sensitive information that only some individuals have access to.

It’s clear that the days of the password as the only method for authentication and verification are numbered. In order to help ensure full protection against data loss, particularly internal threats, integrating biometric technology is the way of the future. If you’re an SMB or SME, the best way to think about biometric integration is by directing the resource and budget you have put aside for it towards protecting the files that are most highly sensitive, or would have the most negative impact if they were internally released. That way, you can start to test methods of using the technology that work for when the technology becomes cheaper and easier to implement across the board.

 

Enhancing Your Company’s Mobile Security in Ten Steps

Mobile-centric workforces are a present reality, and, more and more, a way of the future. They enable your employees to be anywhere and everywhere, which also means that your company’s precious and sensitive data is moving with them also. So, how to prevent against the threat of data loss from internal sources, both by accident and maliciously? Here are ten easy steps you can take:

  1. Use a lock screen and biometrics technology

Pretty simple stuff but it is very surprising how few companies, particularly SMBs, insist that this procedure is followed by their employees. Preferably employees will have both smartphones and laptops that come with built-in biometrics technology that can identify them through retina or fingerprint verification.

  1. Create a BYOD policy

You may or may not provide employees with devices. If you don’t, it’s important to create a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, where employees follow a procedure on their own devices to bring them up to speed with company security policy. Mobile device management platforms are a great way of implementing these. These procedures should also give you the ability to wipe their phone data remotely in an emergency situation.

  1. Purchase unlimited data contracts

This might not always be possible with budget constraints, but it is the most effective way of preventing employees connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks when they are in public places.

  1. Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt

The more you can encrypt the better to prevent ‘leaky’ code or to help prevent data being revealed if it is leaked by accident. File-level encryption protects data on a file-by-file basis, and key and certificate management is also highly important to protect.

  1. Strengthen passwords

Many employees still use old and unsafe passwords, merely because they’ve never been reminded to update them. As part of company policy, ensure that all passwords have to be of a certain strength and changed on a regular basis. This will help against the threat of data loss protection, not only from a mobile security standpoint, but also within the office.

  1. Testing

Ideally comprehensive testing will be included in the network security firm who puts together your mobile security package, but you should also be testing yourself to find any cracks. Upon initial implementation, encourage employees to ‘break the system’ with unclassified information. When the people who will be using the mobile systems are able to get around the technology at the very beginning, it’s likely to happen again and therefore needs to be fixed.

  1. Device protection

More relevant for SMBs with BYOD policies, ensure that the devices used are not jailbroken or a rooted device. This removes the in-built security measures that come with smartphones, which are fairly sophisticated and help to complement your company’s own security policies.

  1. Mobile app choice

When downloading any app on a phone, for both personal and professional use, it’s important that employees don’t download apps that could compromise data protection. Ensure that employees view the download of apps the same way that they view downloading foreign files, or opening spam emails – with caution.

  1. Inform your employees

Further to this, it’s helpful to inform your employees what potential threats could look like. While these are technically external threats, you can reduce the internal threat of employees clicking on harmful phishing links by educating them that these could come from banks, tax departments, the Board of Directors, and what to do if they’re unsure.

  1. Update the technology

Software updates for laptops and mobile devices generally include a large number of security patches and updates. Ensure that you and your employees are as protected as you can be by updating as soon as the notification comes through.

Many employees don’t have any intention of leaking a company’s sensitive information, they are just totally unaware of how they are inadvertently doing it. Creating a workplace where employees are taught to view mobile security as an important part of their job, whether it’s disconnecting from public Wi-Fi areas, or strengthening passwords, it helps to educate and empower them to start taking mobile security into their own hands. This, combined with mobile device management platforms that help to protect against internal loss that occurs intentionally, will ensure that your company has a solid mobile security policy.

Zecurion Announces Partnership with Dataguard Middle East

Partnership Enables Zecurion to Deliver Data Loss Prevention Solutions in the UAE and Other Middle East Countries

New York, August 18, 2017 — Zecurion, a major vendor for data loss prevention (DLP) solutions, today announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with Dataguard Middle East, one of the fastest growing distributors and IT service providers across the Middle East. The agreement is Zecurion’s first direct distribution agreement in the Middle East and forms part of the company’s strategy to focus on innovation and investment in its partner ecosystem. The partnership will enable Zecurion to expand its global footprint in the UAE and other Middle East countries.

The partnership is one of the many steps that Zecurion plans to take to build on its regional growth strategy and follows Zecurion’s recent recognition by Gartner in its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise DLP 2017.

“We are very excited about our new partnership with Dataguard Middle East. With their experience as a distributor of DLP solutions, knowledge of the enterprise security market, as well as their network of channel partners, we are all set to expand in this region,” said Alexey Raevsky, CEO of Zecurion.

Dataguard Middle East will distribute the complete range of Zecurion DLP solutions including Zlock, Zgate, Zdiscovery and Zserver. In addition, Dataguard will provide managed services to customers that are looking to deploy Zecurion DLP solutions in the cloud.

Rishan Ahmed, Product Consultant at Dataguard Middle East, said, “the partnership with Zecurion will greatly benefit our resellers, system integrators and customers through easier availability of leading enterprise DLP solutions at mid-market prices, greater collaboration for channel training and enablement, channel marketing support, and technical support from the team in Moscow and New York – all being key components of the relationship.”

He also added, “We are adding Zecurion’s superior DLP technology to our portfolio of security solutions. The partnership will enable our channel network to offer the most technologically comprehensive enterprise DLP solutions, as well as equip them with the right training and tools required for success in this highly competitive market. This is a significant development in the Middle East data security market and represents a refreshing opportunity to our partners in this sector.”

The distribution agreement is effective as of August 14, 2017, with immediate benefits to partners and customers.

For more information about Zecurion or this partnership, please call +1 866 581 0999.

About Zecurion

Zecurion is a global innovator and leader in security solutions that reduce risk by addressing internal threats. Founded in 2001, Zecurion has successfully developed and implemented security solutions providing proven and reliable protection against leaks for more than 10,000 companies around the world. The company’s solutions provide comprehensive protection against the leakage of information throughout the course of its life cycle – from creation and recording to archiving and deletion. Zecurion was recognized by Gartner in the 2014, 2016 and 2017 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Data Loss Prevention. It has also received recognition through the prestigious Golden Bridge Awards and Network Products Guide, as well as consistently being ranked highest among developers of DLP analytics by CNews. Additional information is available at http://www.zecurion.com.

Zecurion and the Zecurion logo are trademarks of Zecurion.

About Dataguard Middle East

Dataguard is one of the fastest growing IT service providers and true value-added distributors across the Middle East, with solutions designed in collaboration with world-class vendors that deliver high quality and security.

Dataguard’s mission is to provide presales/post-sales support to all partners and customers, onsite as well as offsite through a remote support center that provides high-quality technical services. The company values providing uncompromised security on data, systems and networks.

Additional information is available at http://www.dataguard-me.com.

 

Analyst and Media Contact:

Ratika Garg

Director – Marketing & Channel Enablement, Zecurion

+1 (240) 449 6818

Ratika.garg@zecurion.com

 

The Top Data Breaches in 2017 – And It’s Only August

Since January 1 2017, there have been approximately 156,000 data records breached where the disclosure was unintentional or a malicious breach from an insider. These are breaches in all industries, to all kinds of individuals, and all sizes of companies. To put it in perspective, that’s roughly 867 records breached every day, or nearly two records every three minutes. We’ve rounded up the top data breaches for the first half of 2017. Prepare to be unsettled.

Registered voters in America
198,000,000 Americans registered to vote had their personal information exposed in late June this year. The firm responsible, a Republican data analysis company, Deep Roots Analytics, has taken full responsibility for the situation. Included in the breach was basic information such as voter’s first and last names, birth dates, home and mailing addresses, phone numbers, registered party, self-reported racial demographic and voter registration status. Alarmingly, a voter’s likely stance on abortion, gun control, stem cell research and environmental issues was also part of the breach. Fortunately, it appears that only a single Cyber Risk Analyst from another company was able to access the 1.1 terabytes of entirely unsecured data and was able to alert authorities in time.

Educational records at the University of Oklahoma
Also in June, the University of Oklahoma has been found to have violated federal law with their lax privacy settings across their campus file-sharing network. 29,000 educational records were accessed by email users on the system. These records included social security numbers, financial aid information and grades in records dating to at least 2002. The files have now been safeguarded but each breach could constitute a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Email addresses of US corporates
Just under 33.7 million unique email addresses were leaked in March this year. The company responsible, Dunn & Bradstreet, is a business services company so, at 30 million, the records represented a large chunk of the United States corporate population. This is the data that can be bought and sold – it’s unknown what the market rate would be, but it is reported that it can cost up to $200,000 to access just half a million records. The largest organizations affected include the Department of Defense, other armed forces, AT&T, Boeing, and the United States Postal Service. Interestingly, it remains unknown how the breach occurred, other than it was internal, although Dunn & Bradstreet stated it was not released through one of their systems.

Thankfully, many of these data breaches were eventually picked up by security companies monitoring for data exposure before the data could get into the wrong hands. While these are three of the most significant data breaches to happen this year, there are tens of thousands more where companies have had their data exposed through internal sources, either with malicious intent or by total accident. Companies that lose data through their own negligence, or lack of correct privacy procedures, can face legal action and be forced to pay damages to the individual’s affected. A data loss protection strategy is essential for a company of any size. It protects the individuals whose data is owned by the company, and it helps protect the company from the ramifications of any internal losses.

How to Use Prioritization to Enhance Your Data Security

Data loss prevention and data security can sometimes feel like a daunting and money draining task, particularly for SMBs. But cyberattacks and loss of data can be some of the biggest risks an organization can face in this modern-day climate. Companies don’t need to be big-name enterprises with large IT departments in order to operate as a top-performer in data loss prevention. When it comes to protecting companies and individuals from data loss, prioritization of data protection is key to successfully managing security, while still operating a well-running company.

  1. Knowledge is power

There are many studies that suggest that around one third of all companies lack sufficient policies for data encryption, classification and security. Knowing the risk and how your company might be affected is the first step towards data security.

  1. Consider the options

What is actually realistic for your business? While it is tempting to get caught up in the sophistication and benefits that some of these security systems hold, it’s important to prioritize what your company really needs for full protection. Extra benefits are nice-to-haves, and most security companies will scale plans up and down, so these can easily be considered once a working plan is in place.

  1. Learn about your company’s data

Back to the first point, knowledge is power – in order to be able to optimally prioritize data for security purposes, you need to know about your company’s data. What it does, who uses it, and how it moves around your computer systems. Depending on the size of your company, there are some mapping tools that can be put into place to assess this but you should also be looking for a general feel. In addition to the sophisticated software that’s out there, there’s an element of common sense to data security – if you think data could escape a particular route, it probably can.

  1. Top down data prioritization

Once you know the ins and outs of your company’s data, it’s important that you begin to assess the risk that a breach in data security poses for the different kind of files your company possesses. The higher the risk, the more priority needs to be given to ensuring that the data security around those files is impeccable.

  1. Balance it out

Bear in mind that often the more security and process you place around data, the more administration you are placing on your employees. Policies and verification processes all take time, and this adds up if it is manual time on each and every file the employee is using. Consider the effect that the loss of a particular piece of data will have on your company if it is released from your secure system. If the consequences are not high, and it’s much more effective for your business to run efficiently without cumbersome processes around those files, then go with that.

Prioritizing the kind of security that you employ to protect your company, and how you implement it, can sometimes mean the difference between being able to install security and data loss prevention plans in your company, or becoming like the one-third of businesses that have not done so. With these simple techniques, you should be able to efficiently breakdown and prioritize how to effectively go about protecting your company through data security.