The Dirty Secrets of Your Data
A twenty year study published in the journal of Science calculated the amount of data being stored in the world from 1986 through 2007 was estimated to be 295 exabytes. That’s 295 BILLION gigabytes! You can store roughly 15,000 images or almost 65,000 Microsoft Word files on just 1 gigabyte… so you can just imagine how much saved data would be stored on 295 BILLION of them. If you think that’s a lot, research says digital data will exceed 8 zettabytes by the end of 2016.
So… where is YOUR data? Is it stored on encrypted discs? Who has access to it? How is your data classified? Is sensitive data handled properly? Are you prepared for this extreme growth in data? How long should I keep my data? If you are unsure about any of these questions, it’s time to get a plan in place. One of the biggest mistakes when trying to secure sensitive data is not understanding what data is actually sensitive and not knowing where your data resides. Different types of businesses need different data solutions so it would be a mistake to assume there is a cookie cutter solution for securing and managing data in every business.
The first step to securing your data is to understand what data is sensitive and to classify it properly. When you understand what you are trying to protect, you can then put a plan into place to categorize it and store it properly. This also includes adding layers of security, not only on your network servers, but also endpoint security on personal computers and everything in between. You can do this by uniting hardware solutions in combination with software security components to safeguard your data.
Training employees who deal with sensitive information is also a must in today’s workforce. It’s not always corrupt or lazy employees who transmit sensitive data, it’s also just employees who unknowingly print, fax, and/or store data incorrectly.
Data encryption is another layer of protection for your data. Encrypting drives on endpoints is a great first measure, but can often be insufficient when accessing data over unsecured networks. If you are planning on storing data in the cloud, always encrypt beforehand. This may sound obvious, but so many companies don’t take the time to do this properly. Encryption is no longer a luxury, it’s a requirement of doing business.
Recovery solutions are another critical part of securing your data. With many layers of security in place, you hope that it is unlikely that any data breaches occur. However, being prepared with a reliable backup solution will allow you to restore data instead of starting completely from scratch in the event that the unthinkable does actually occur and all your data is lost or stolen. Remember, a reliable backup solution addresses how fast you can restore the data (Recovery Time Objective) and become operational again, not just storing copies of your data.
Never assume that your data is completely secure or underestimate what an invader is capable of attaining or destroying. Data breaches happen every day in every industry. Be sure that you have a plan in place to protect your business from an unnecessary disaster.