Christopher Gray is the co-founder and COO of Manhattan Beach, California CapLinked, the manufacturer of a virtual data room platform.
For an average business, information security may not be considered a top priority. However, data breaches involving private information are unfortunately very common. These shortcomings have serious consequences for businesses.
In the modern age, work from home (WFH) practices have further increased the need for network access. Along with concerns about breaches, information security has never been more important.
In this guide, we‘I’ll cover some of the reasons why information security is so important and offer some tips for building a successful information security strategy for your business:
Working from home has changed the security landscape
Before working from home became mainstream, businesses had a greater degree of control over access to their data and networks. They did not necessarily have to deal with the security issues associated with offsite access to their internal networks.
Internal access greatly facilitates the identification of authorized connections. But with the shift to work-from-home models that came with bottlenecks during the pandemic, businesses needed to make a rapid change to provide outside access to their corporate networks.
For many businesses, this meant that sensitive data was now accessible over the Internet. While access often requires the use of employee credentials, they can be tampered with or compromised.
Elements of information security
To protect information, whether‘For customer data, employee personal data, or protected business data, companies need to be aware of some key elements of security.
The first is encryption, which prevents data transfers from being intercepted by third parties. This is a potential risk introduced by many home working arrangements.
Another important factor to consider is endpoint security. Firewalls and other tools are designed to prevent unauthorized access and malicious connections. When used appropriately, firewalls can allow access to employees working from home, while denying it to third parties.
Finally, it is essential to keep backups of sensitive information, documents and data. Regularly backing up important data is one of the most overlooked aspects of information security, especially in small and medium-sized businesses. Information sources should be backed up weekly to prepare for attacks or theft that could result in loss of documents.
The risks of ignoring the information security strategy
Without a good information security strategy, your business is at risk of data breaches. These violations can lead to a number of serious consequences.
For example, if your business mishandles customer information, you could face legal action. When personal information is compromised, your business can lose the trust of its customers for years to come.
Without a strong information security strategy in place, you also risk losing proprietary information to competitors. It could cost you your competitive edge.
See more: Top 10 Cyber Security Threats
Hazards specific to certain industries
Some industries may face more serious information security consequences than others. The medical industries fall under the authority of HIPAA, a law designed to ensure patient privacy. A violation of patient information under this law can result in significant fines.
The same goes for any business that processes information for government agencies. These companies must operate under the rules of the Federal Information Security Management Act. Failure to fully protect this sensitive data can have major consequences for your business.
See More: Top 10 Ways To Prevent Cyber Attacks
Implement effective information security for your business
The need for information security strategies is incredibly clear. But how do you implement these strategies for your business?
Here are a few methods that can work for just about any business:
Document control and management
Distributing files and making them available to users is a complex security task. Going with a file hosting service might not be the best choice. Using these tools can expose your organization to significant information security risks.
Creating a secure environment for sharing and editing documents is crucial. This should include putting in place mechanisms such as permission control, watermark and digital rights management. You should be able to download files securely to a secure location and view them directly in your browser. Hosting documents on a secure server also allows version control, in order to track any changes made to a file. These practices should be implemented not only for Word documents, but also for all sensitive files, including photos, PDFs, and videos.
Multi-factor authentication for endpoint security
Another way to protect your corporate networks is to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). This adds another layer of protection when authorized users attempt to access the network.
You can do this by choosing to trust a dedicated app on a trusted device or to check user permissions via email or text. Either way, having just the right device or login credentials shouldn’t be enough to access your networks.
Implementing custom user permissions in your organization will prevent bad users from accessing sensitive information, while minimizing the risk of a data breach by limiting the number of users who access sensitive content. All files and documents in an organization should be private by default, with only affected users allowed to view or edit them. Group permissions can be created to also limit access to documents by certain teams or departments. Access should be immediately revoked when people change roles or leave an organization.
Not Ditch information security
The‘without a doubt – your company can‘t afford to do without an effective information security strategy.
By creating the right protocols, you can protect your sensitive data, your customers, and your reputation.
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