A Quick Start Guide to Securing Sensitive Data

A Quick Start Guide to Securing Sensitive Data

Moving towards a cloud-based information system needs an advanced cybersecurity program. To help in this effort, organizations need a risk assessment that identifies all users, data, devices, networks, and software.

After evaluating your digital assets, it can be easier to implement cybersecurity measures. This might include on and off-site document destruction and data backup. Below are crucial things you need to know when securing your organization’s data.

Types of Sensitive Data

Sensitive data refers to the information that an entity wants to keep from the public. The release of the data may lead to cases like identity theft or fraud.

Below are the types of sensitive data that organizations protect from malicious actors:

Non-Public Personal Information

  • Birthdate
  • Address
  • Social security number
  • Bank account information
  • Credit or debit card information
  • Health information
  • Ethnic or racial data
  • Political views
  • Philosophical or religious beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Genetic or biometric data
  • Sexuality or gender information

Non-Public Corporate Information

  • Trade secrets
  • Financials
  • Contracts

How to Protect Sensitive Data

It is crucial to remember that compliance is not security. It is only about following regulations so that the governing body does not need to impose fines.

Moreover, regulatory measures about cybersecurity can sometimes only be the bare minimum of what your organization needs.

This statement highlights the importance of being proactive in protecting your data. Below are some cybersecurity practices that can help in this effort:

Assess Risk

A risk assessment is an essential aspect of protecting sensitive data.

The process requires organizations to identify all digital assets. It also involves categorization based on how a breach would impact the organization.

For example, you may classify sensitive data as “high risk” while marketing information as “low risk.”

The process also involves evaluating potential attack vectors. You can decide how you will handle various cybersecurity risks at this stage.

Dispose of Tech Properly

For any organization, it is inevitable to dispose of old or broken tech. Most people do not know that this process can pose cybersecurity risks if not done correctly.

Malicious actors can access data when they get their hands on broken computers. They can also obtain data from old disks and hard drives.

Luckily, you can take simple yet effective steps to make sure you are disposing of your old tech the right way.

If a computer contains sensitive data, make sure that the hard drive will be inaccessible to anyone before throwing it out.

You can even tap a document destruction services provider. They can destroy paper-based media with confidential data correctly.

You should also refrain from taking any technology off the company premises unless encrypted.

Back Up Your Data

It is wise to have a backup of your sensitive data if you lose access to them. You can still have them with a backup even if you delete them by accident.

Copying files to a physical storage drive can be a good solution. But, if you have confidential data that do not take much storage, USB drives can also be an option.

Additionally, you can opt for an unencrypted data backup for emergency access. Having one can be helpful if you lose access to the encryption key. Without this option, it may result in a permanent loss of your sensitive data.

But first, you need to check the risks involved before making an unencrypted backup.

Document All Activities

Cybersecurity compliance regulation requires organizations to state their plans to protect sensitive data. Additionally, you need to document all the actions you will take to combat cyber risks.

To meet compliance requirements, you have to record the following:

  • Cybersecurity policies
  • Cybersecurity processes
  • Cybersecurity activities

The documentation proves that your security and privacy programs are effective. An auditor then reviews your policies and provides feedback.

While securing sensitive data is crucial, the process can be overwhelming for some. This is why focusing on the information you want to protect is essential. Doing so can make the process easier and more streamlined.

Although it can be overwhelming to do all these steps to protect your data, doing them all is worth it. Otherwise, your organization may suffer the consequences of unmitigated cyber risks.

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