With millions of Americans sharing their most sensitive personal information with the IRS and tax professionals, the lead-up to tax season puts a major emphasis on data privacy and data security best practices. In fact, tax professionals are legally required to maintain a tax data security plan in an effort to protect clients’ info. But the tax sector isn’t the only industry that can benefit from addressing this issue. There’s no better time than now to verify that you’re following data security best practices.
Do I Really Need to Worry About Data Security Best Practices?
Virtually every company maintains a data lake or other data repository which can contain sensitive information. If that data fell into the wrong hands, serious damage could occur. Some businesses are more prone to data breaches than others. Those at the highest risk tend to be companies that deal with personal information (i.e. names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses, social security numbers, etc.) and financial data on a regular basis, such as online stores and financial services companies.
With GDPR and CCPA requiring companies to protect and manage data in a responsible manner, data privacy is an issue that’s concerning business leaders like never before. But even the most security-conscious companies should refrain from becoming overly-confident. Periodic audits should be performed within every business to ensure the latest best practices for data security are in place.
Tips to Avoid Security Breaches at Your Business
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published a list of data security best practices and recommendations to maintain data privacy. Let’s take a look at their tips for preventing data security leaks, hacks, and other incidents that would result in unnecessary exposure of sensitive or personal data.
- Use only reputable software and apps. Employees should be prevented from downloading software and apps that could potentially pose a security risk. Any executable file should be reviewed by the company’s IT experts and screened by antivirus software. Uninstall any and all software/apps that are not in regular use to minimize risk.
- Keep your operating system, mobile apps and software up to date. Chances are good that you don’t routinely read the release notes that are posted with every new OS, app update or software version. But these updates routinely include security patches and fixes to eliminate vulnerabilities. By keeping your apps, software and OS current on company devices, you’ll reduce the risk of a security breach. Hackers don’t need to hack your data lake or database to access sensitive data; the simplest screen recording spyware can compromise your system.
- Use a firewall and perform regular scans for spyware, malware and viruses. Schedule regular scans on all devices that are used to access sensitive data. Also, implement a firewall to serve as an extra layer of protection for your apps, software, data lakes and other storage repositories. Companies with more extreme security demands can implement measures such as geofencing.
- Limit data exposure whenever possible. Work with your data management consultants and software development team to create custom user roles for any platform dealing with sensitive data. Create a separate user account for each employee. An individual should have access to the information they need to perform their duties – nothing more and nothing less. By limiting access to data, this reduces the opportunity for privacy breaches. It’s also prudent to check the security settings on each individual app and software platform. Always opt for the highest level of security that allows you to maintain functionality.
(Re)Training Employees to Follow Security Best Practices
In addition to the aforementioned data security best practices, it’s critical that businesses educate their employees about the company’s expectations surrounding data privacy and security. Your company’s data management experts and IT team can only do so much. Even the best data security plan won’t bring results if you fail to train users to follow your company’s data privacy standards. Doing so will help you protect your company’s data and its digital assets.
Consider holding periodic workshops to educate and train employees so they have the skills and knowledge they need to avoid a security breach. Some of the essentials include:
- How to create and maintain a secure password;
- Discussing what devices can be used to access company data, software platforms, etc.;
- How to collect, handle and process data in a secure, confidential manner;
- How to maintain GDPR and CCPA compliance;
- How to securely delete and erase sensitive data;
- How and when to use encryption tools; and
- Rules and procedures for transmitting and sharing data.
In addition to maintaining these data security best practices, it’s also important that you have modern data governance tools tied to a secure, scalable and user-friendly data lake. Sertics is a 7T product designed to help companies create a data lake that doesn’t require a team of data scientists and analysts to work. Contact the Sertics team to learn more!
7T is a software development company of top Dallas software developers. We specialize in a range of different technologies, including ERP and CRM development, one-of-a-kind mobile app and custom software development projects, tools for data lake creation, data governance, data visualization, cloud integrations and system integrations. In fact, our work speaks volumes!
7T has offices in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and Austin, but our clientele spans the globe. If you’re in search of innovative data management experts or a talented developer to develop your next mobile app or enterprise software solution, contact 7T today.