Don't take risk with data protection in your business

Image credit: Shutterstock
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The issues of data privacy and data security are a source of significant concern for organisations in today’s digital world. Whether this is due to increased emphasis on regulatory compliance (GDPR), or the efficiency of cyber criminals seeking out vulnerable data, there is no getting away from how important it is to have the right processes and solutions in place.

However, it’s becoming more difficult to ensure data is safe and secure. In fact, 64 percent of global IT decision-makers agree that protecting business-critical data has not become easier over the past five years, despite advances in technology made to do so. 

The general public is also increasingly sensitive about the security of their data, especially considering recent high-profile incidents (some even involving data protection providers) and have been known to cut ties with organisations they deem unworthy of their trust. In this climate, any loss of customer data could severely dent an organisation’s reputation and customer confidence.  

Which raises the question, how can organisations be better positioned to deliver on customer expectations?

Consider the real impact of inadequate data protection

While every organisation, regardless of industry, is prone to slip-ups, trust takes only seconds to break and a lifetime to repair, so protecting data and recovering from a breach is more critical than ever. Organisations must bear in mind the true cost economic cost of a breach, a GDPR fine of €20 million or 4 percent annual turnover comes with non-compliance, which is a significant amount of money for any organisation, large or small, to pay. 

It is easy to assume GDPR fines and the other consequences bad data practices are something for big multi-nationals to worry about, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While most small and medium sized companies may not get the same amount negative press as the Facebooks and British Airways of this world, bad data handling for them could easily lead to negative public reviews, ratings and referrals.

Data protection is an issue for every department. Not just IT

Data protection concerns every aspect of a business, and not just your IT team. The effects could have far reaching consequences for the wider business – including the sales, marketing and business development teams.

As a result of a cyber-attack in October 2015, UK telecoms provider TalkTalk is reported to have lost £60 million, as well as over 100,000 customers. This highlights the real-world impact of cyber-attacks and ongoing hypersensitivity around how data is stored and used. 

It is vital for organisations to invest in solutions and processes that allow them to reassure their end users that they are taking the security of their sensitive data as seriously as they are. They must invest in solutions that prioritise compliance and security, so that they can conduct their business with full confidence, as well as infrastructure that enable a quick recovery from an attack or breach. 

Practice makes perfect when it comes to data protection

With many solutions in the market, organisations are spoilt for choice when it comes to data protection, which is why they should turn to providers with a tried and tested track record of delivering the level of service needed. 

Organisations should also consider solutions that not only protect data, but also mitigate the consequences as it is virtually impossible to stop every attack. Focusing on recovery and resiliency provides the best kind of insurance for when the worst does happen. 

Organisations need to also create data tiers: know where data is, how it’s being stored and whether it is critical, especially for data held which counts as PII (Personally Identifiable Information).

Don’t risk what’s worthwhile

The stakes are high, threats to data privacy are growing and customers expect their data to be protected. For any organisation to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape, data protection and good data privacy practices must be at the top of their agenda.

  • Mick Bradley, has an extensive knowledge across technology, solutions and service with over 25 years’ experience. Prior to his role at Arcserve he has held positions at HP, Kaminario and Violin Systems.