Data breaches have recently become quite common, with several organizations falling prey to them. These breaches not only lead to financial losses but can also cause irreversible damage to the organization’s reputation.
The threat of cybercrime and data loss is increasing; hence, data privacy and security have become crucial for businesses. Stakeholders must realize the importance of integrating master data governance into existing systems.
This post discusses some key data privacy and security principles that every organization should adopt to mitigate the risk of data breaches.
Perform Risk Assessments
Risk assessments are essential for organizations to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. It allows businesses to identify sensitive data types, processing systems, and storage facilities requiring protection.
The process also involves identifying potential security threats, both internal and external, assessing the likelihood of an attack, and estimating the impact of a data breach. Based on the risk assessment findings, organizations can develop an information security management system (ISMS) that outlines policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines for protecting sensitive data.
Implement Role-Based Access Controls
One of the most significant data privacy and security threats is unauthorized access to sensitive information. Role-based access controls (RBAC) allow companies to restrict data access based on the user’s job function, authority, and clearance level.
Implementing RBAC can ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data to perform their job responsibilities. It also prevents employees from accessing confidential information irrelevant to their work, minimizing the risk of insider threats.
Encrypt Sensitive Data
Encryption involves scrambling data so that only authorized parties can access the information. Encryption is one of the best ways to protect data confidentiality, and it is becoming increasingly essential as organizations store more data in the cloud.
Businesses should encrypt sensitive data in transit and at rest to protect against unauthorized disclosure and data breaches. Encryption can be done at the file, disk, or system levels, depending on the sensitive information’s importance and risk level.
Conduct Regular Data Backups And Tests
Regular data backups are essential to mitigate the risks of data loss due to cyber attacks or natural disasters. Organizations should backup sensitive data regularly and securely, on-site or off-site, to ensure data availability and recoverability in case of data loss.
Organizations should perform regular testing to confirm their functionality, data integrity, and recovery process to ensure the backups function correctly.
Train Employees On Security Best Practices
Employees are a significant source of security vulnerabilities for organizations. Human error, such as opening a phishing email or sharing login credentials, is one of the primary causes of data breaches.
Organizations should invest in security awareness training to educate employees on best practices to prevent data breaches. The training should include password security, safe web browsing, reporting security incidents, social engineering attacks, and phishing scams.
Secure Mobile Devices And Wireless Networks
Mobile devices and wireless networks pose a considerable threat to the security of confidential data. Since these devices are frequently used off-network, there is a high risk of tapping or stealing sensitive corporate data; wireless access also exposes networks to cyber-attack threats.
Therefore, organizations must develop policies to regulate mobile device access, including protecting devices with passwords, installing automatic software updates, and protecting their wireless access points and networks with security protocols, including firewalls and encryption.
Conduct Regular Audits
Every organization needs to mandate regular auditing of privacy and security principles. Regular security audits will reveal the organization’s current security status, the security threats it must address to prevent attacks, and the best practices to implement.
Security audits will identify weak points causing information security vulnerabilities, try to identify how they were exploited, and create new ideas to unclog these vulnerabilities.
Regardless of size, every organization should master data governance and adopt these key principles of data privacy and security to safeguard sensitive information from cyber-attacks and data breaches. While it is impossible to eliminate all security risks, implementing these practices can minimize security vulnerabilities and mitigate the impact of a data breach.
Companies should regularly review and update their data privacy and security policies and ensure that their employees understand and follow these policies to maintain a secure environment. Remember, safeguarding sensitive data is a legal requirement and a responsibility towards clients, partners, and other stakeholders.