data protection plan step by step guide

Implementing A Data Protection Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Every day, there are around 2,200 cyberattacks. Thankfully, not every attempt is successful, but just one that gets through can be devastating. In fact, many small businesses never recover and end up closing shop.

While there’s no foolproof way to block hackers, there are steps you can take to make it significantly more challenging for them to infiltrate your network.

Read on to learn how to form and implement a data protection plan that’ll improve your company’s digital security.

Determine Your Security Risks

To create your data protection plan, you need to first determine what sensitive data is in your company. This is anything that could damage or financially hurt you, the company, and/or the people involved.

Typically, sensitive data is anything hackers may want to steal or expose. However, it can also be essential information with negative effects if lost.

When you’ve identified your business’s sensitive information, establish who has access to it. Then, pinpoint the associated threats and risks.

Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment

Data security is complicated, and you might find yourself stuck at the first step. In that case, the security professionals at Dig Security recommend you conduct a vulnerability assessment. This is an evaluation of your network to find vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit.

In addition to manual tests, there are many automated tools available. Either way, you can use the results to further develop your data protection plan.

Develop Your Data Protection Policies

Now that you know where and what your network weaknesses are, it’s time to come up with company-wide policies. These will ensure that everyone is proactive in data security.

The top-level stakeholders should discuss the vulnerabilities and outline a clear plan on how to protect that data. This plan should include who’s in charge of the actions, so nothing’s neglected. Plus, it should mention which pieces of technology you’ll utilize.

If you have employees who work remotely, then you’ll need an additional plan to address these security concerns.

Include a Response Plan

We can try our best to repel cyberattacks, but there’s always the chance of one making it through. If that happens, you don’t want to be caught unawares; every minute counts in a security breach.

Before disaster strikes, create a response plan. Here are some crucial steps to include:

• Decide how employees should report an incident and to who
• Form an investigative procedure and assign a specific team to carry it out
• Have options for mitigating data breaches in several scenarios

Train Your Employees

Contrary to popular belief, your technology isn’t the first line of defense for data protection; your employees are. Tech like firewalls and antivirus programs are there to catch anything that makes it past humans. This makes employee training vital.

Having regular training sessions ensures that everyone knows the importance of data protection. They might not have realized that their prior actions put sensitive information at risk. Also, you can make sure that everyone understands your policies.

As part of training, include cybersecurity mock tests. These simulate actual attacks, but without danger to your company.

Your employees will put their skills to the test, as they’ll learn to recognize hacking attempts. And they can carry out the response plan too if they fail the fake hacks.

All the above will give your business a fighting chance in real-life scenarios.

Implement Safeguards

We mentioned technology earlier; what should you use, exactly?

At the very least, you need to turn on firewalls and install antivirus software on all devices. Make sure these are updated frequently, as these patches will address vulnerabilities.

All data should be encrypted so that if it falls into the wrong hands, the person can’t access the information.

You should also put in access controls. This lowers the chances of unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Monitoring data access is a must with these safeguards. This helps you recognize and respond to potential breaches or attempts.

Back-Up Your Data Regularly

You should always have a backup plan; data protection is no exception. Not only can you lose your information to cybercriminals, but also to natural disasters like fires and floods.

You should regularly back up your data and have several copies. In addition to cloud backups, have data copies on external hard drives that are stored in other locations. This will help mitigate losses and get you back up and running in no time in a catastrophe.

Conduct Security Audits

Once or twice a year, conduct security audits, which should evaluate your:

• Firewalls
• Encryption algorithms
• Access controls
• Employee training programs
• Response plans

Based on your findings, you should alter your current data protection plan to eliminate vulnerabilities.

For an expert opinion and a fresh perspective, you should also use an independent third-party data security company to conduct their own assessments. They can assist in plugging up holes you wouldn’t have detected on your own.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

The biggest thing that causes downfalls is complacency.

You might think you have a fantastic data protection plan, so you don’t bother with time-consuming tests and audits. After all, it’s worked so far, so don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

However, hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit so they can infiltrate your system. Your security plan enables you to stay one step ahead of them, so if you don’t keep up, these criminals will win.

The online landscape is constantly evolving, so you need to aggressively change and match its pace. Having a chief security officer (CSO) on staff is beneficial, as they can keep your business up to speed.

Create a Solid Data Protection Plan

The world’s only becoming more digital by the day, and cyber criminals are relentless. They’ll keep coming for your data, so you need to be prepared.

By forming a transparent data protection plan, you’ll have a clear frame of reference in the workplace. Not only will employees know how to protect sensitive information, but they’ll also know how to handle potential breaches. This cohesiveness can literally save your business from perishing.

Keep browsing our blog page to learn more about protecting your company.