Data protection best practices

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Data security is a continuous process of identifying and protecting data by reinforcing hardware and software controls that govern data usage, movement, and storage. To safeguard your IT infrastructure, you need enhanced data visibility and security strategies deployed in a two-pronged approach, namely, data-centric and user-centric strategies.

12 best practices for data protection

  • Data-centric strategies
  • User-centric strategies

Track file activities

The first step to secure data is to find where data is stored and how it is used in the network. Use a file server auditing software to locate a file, and to monitor file creation, deletion, modification, copy and paste activities, and more. Such a tool will reveal usual patterns in the file system, and report out-of-the-ordinary file events that need your attention.


Secure data storage

Evaluate data storage alternatives—file servers, cloud repositories, and more. Assess and remediate the backdoors that may exist or develop in the future. Select the right combination of data storage options to secure sensitive data and minimize data loss.
Efficiently manage your data storage with a disk space analyzer.


Backup critical data

Adopt a failover approach and back up your critical data to mitigate the consequences of potential data loss. Follow the 3-2-1 backup policy: have at least three copies of your data, with two copies stored on different storage media, and one positioned outside the organization's premises.


Intensify hardware controls

Strengthening data security measures includes fortifying the infrastructure as well. Guard file servers and other physical data storage devices with stringent procedures and security protocols. Revise these measures periodically to ensure up-to-date hardware security.


Regulate data access

Ensure critical data does not fall into the wrong hands. Implement strict authentication and authorization measures to provide secure access to data. Grant permissions based on principle of least privilege (POLP), and assign only the bare minimum privileges required by users.


Locate sensitive data

Personally identifiable data (PII), payment card information, social security number, and other personal data are vulnerable to hackers and insider activity. Locate these sensitive data in your network with a data discovery and classification tool to control access requests and stop unauthorized exposure.


Strengthen file security

Safeguard files from security hazards like overexposure, inconsistent permissions, and privilege escalation. Promptly spot these vulnerabilities to protect critical files against unauthorized modifications or transfers with a file analysis software.


Identify who's accessing your organization's most sensitive data and from where.

User-centric strategies


Secure endpoint devices

Use data leak prevention software to detect and block when crucial data are being copied and transferred outside of your network. Maintain separate polices for different endpoint groups so that you can either prompt users attempting to copy files or completely block the copy operation.


Scope out insider activity

Keep an eye out for data exfiltration by malicious insiders. Be notified of sensitive data being leaked via Outlook, USB drives, or other removable devices with an insider threat detection software.


Enforce strict data usage policy

Implement a data usage policy that restricts unauthorized access to and the use of sensitive data. Control use of USB drives and other removable storage media to stop unnecessary data transfers. To curb the unofficial use of resources, monitor file uploads to cloud applications and websites like Dropbox, Office 365, etc.


Control remote access requests

Plan and implement policies to regulate data access requests especially for remote workers. Enforce strict controls over organizational data accessed over public and unsecured networks. Employ cloud protection software to authorize access to only cloud applications with a low-risk profile.


Educate users on data security

Ensure all users know the consequences of cybersecurity threats and how to avoid them. Prepare them to avert these risks by regularly hosting data security training programs. Educated staff know how to use and protect sensitive data, lowering the chances of security incidents.


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