Four tips to save your business from data leaks

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 Data leaks are a growing threat to Australian businesses and can have detrimental effects if gone undetected. Business leaders need to understand the cause of data leaks to optimise their ability to prevent them from occurring, and to minimise the risk of losing valuable company data to third parties. 

1. Encrypting data and devices 

Encryption is a highly effective way of achieving data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. If businesses encrypt their sensitive data, they are protected at all times, both at rest and in transit. Encrypting your data and device significantly reduces the risk of data being accessed by unauthorised parties or being intercepted by e-criminals. To successfully protect themselves, organisations should encrypt all sensitive information and devices. Having a good encryption policy for employee devices is also key and will reduce the likelihood of a possible data leak, which can have huge repercussions on businesses.

2. Boosting security awareness

Human error is the number one cause of data leaks within businesses. A recent Australian survey highlighted that 29% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and 5% of larger organisations had either never trained their staff on information security policies or didn’t have these policies in place. Employees need to be aware of the potential dangers of a data leak as part of a company-wide security strategy. Corporate security strategies should focus on thorough and company-wide cybersecurity training programs. Avoid basic paper-based assessments and weekly updates to instead focus on engaging, interactive and memorable training methods. Keep training programs relevant by covering the most common threats, such as phishing, malware, and ransomware. Effective security training and strategies will drastically increase awareness of security best practices among employees, creating a better educated and safer company.

3. Manage your data effectively 

Businesses must be vigilant about monitoring employee activity on all networks in addition to the sharing of important information with partners, suppliers and customers. Database monitoring tools can record the actions of employees over company networks and databases. If an employee is on the network, any unusual activity notifies administrators. This kind of software can reveal downloads, copies, deletions or modifications, and trace them back to a particular employee. By implementing behavioural monitoring in addition to data loss prevention solutions, rules and boundaries can be set by organisations to limit an employee’s misbehaviour.

4. Protect the endpoint 

Employees are increasingly bringing their own devices (BYOD) for work purposes, making endpoint management essential to effective company security. 93% of Australians personally own their smartphone, and just 7% have it supplied by their employer. To address the risks presenting by this high volume of personal devices in offices, BYOD policies can play a key role in ensuring important company information is secure.BYOD policies can inform both employees and employers of how to effectively manage and protect their devices. If businesses can also monitor and control devices connected to company networks, the risk factor of potential leaks is remarkably reduced.