When it comes to bolstering data security, companies often have a number of paths they can take to get where they want to be. This is especially true for larger companies with the IT infrastructure to house and protect large amounts of data on an ongoing basis, because they typically also have big budgets to devote to new security measures. And when money isn't much of an object, the issue is less about making the best dollar-for-dollar choices and more about data governance as a whole.
Larger companies are more likely to both control significant amounts of data and allow a potentially sizable number of people have access to it, according to a report from Tech Republic. As a consequence, data governance is a big deal for many corporations. Experts generally recommend that companies do all they can to lay out clear and precise ground rules for how data should be accessed and handled. Further, it's also wise to make sure everyone is on the same page not only when these new rules are put in place, but on a regular basis. In fact, it's typically prudent to make sure data policies are reviewed and updated consistently so companies are always right on top of their evolving needs.
Where to begin?
When it comes to protecting large amounts of sensitive information, one of the wisest things companies can do is to schedule regular reviews of data-related policies and, more specifically, who has access to the information, the report said. Things can change every six or 12 months, with workers leaving, coming in, getting promoted, and so on. Making sure to keep tabs on who has access to what data helps to safeguard against breaches, even those that are accidental. This is also true when it comes to monitoring how data is accessed and used.
This may be especially vital as data is shifted from physical computers in the office onto the cloud, where it can be more easily accessed from anywhere, the report said. For that reason, it's also vital that companies properly invest in encryption and data masking technology to ensure that only those authorized to see sensitive information are able to do so. And while that won't prevent a breach, it can help to reduce the damage that comes from such an incident.
"We are seeing major transitions in the big data market now," said Venkat Subramanian, CTO at a data protection and compliance vendor, told the site. "Companies are moving from traditional data services to the big data market, and they are beginning to move more of their standard and big data applications from on-premises data centers to the cloud. Whether big data is stored on premises or in a cloud environment, appropriate governance measures for this data are needed."
"It might be wise for companies to invest in data center services."
With all this in mind, it might also be wise for companies to invest in data center services that help to bolster their security efforts. The more that can be done to put layers of defense between sensitive information and the potential for any sort of breach, the better off all involved will be going forward.
This type of investment can boost security in two ways: By providing physical protection for servers, applications and data in secured buildings, and with network security options as secondary services either through providers themselves or with the help of partner companies that specialize in data protection.
However, one issue many workers often say can be burdensome is how companies can go overboard with the security requirements, which can create issues related to productivity, according to IT Portal. As a result, many workers may prefer to use their own devices to access sensitive data and other work-related files rather than employer-issued machines. This is an end-around on the carefully constructed and considered security measures companies put into place.
Therefore, it's also vital for companies to work hard on striking a balance between security standards and employee ease of use on an ongoing basis, especially in light of the BYOD trend, the report said. Some companies have found it effective to issue work-only BYOD-style devices such as smartphones and tablets to combat the chances that employees lose a personal device with sensitive business data on it.
Get in front of the threats
Finally, it's also wise for companies to craft careful plans about how they will respond to breaches if – or rather, when – they happen, according to Read IT Quik. The more companies can do to collaborate in the immediate wake of a breach both internally and with other potentially affected business partners and vendors, the more likely they will be to get a firm handle on their response as quickly and easily as possible. This may be especially important in the age of rising use of ransomware, which can seriously disrupt business continuity for those that aren't prepared.