Data Security Best Practices for 2022
Data security is one of the most pressing concerns of organizations and corporate decision-makers. The increasing prevalence of cyberattacks has made it more important than ever to take the necessary steps to protect a company’s resources. A successful ransomware attack or a data breach can cripple an organization overnight.
Maintaining robust security is becoming increasingly challenging as organizations migrate workloads to the cloud and implement more complex infrastructures. Companies of all sizes can enhance their security standing by following the best practices outlined below in 2022 and beyond.
Raise the Organizational Level of Security Awareness
Improving IT security begins by raising the level of awareness regarding its importance throughout an organization. All employees need to understand how their activities affect a company’s overall security. Steps that can be taken to raise security awareness include:
- Stressing the responsibility shared by everyone in the organization in keeping its data processing systems secure;
- Providing employee training regarding the dangers of phishing emails and how to avoid falling victim and compromising IT systems;
- Teaching employees how to create strong passwords and handle them securely.
Use the Principle of Least Privilege
The principle of least privilege should be implemented across the organization to control access to sensitive systems and information. This principle provides new users and accounts with the minimum level of privilege to perform their tasks. The privilege level is only raised when access to sensitive data is required and should be lowered again as soon as possible.
Using this approach reduces the possibility that a single set of compromised credentials allows hackers to attack systems with elevated privileges. It also limits malicious internal actors from accessing and misusing sensitive data assets. Additional security can be provided by deleting privileged accounts as soon as an employee changes roles or leaves the organization.
Monitor Access to Data Resources
Security is enhanced by implementing a comprehensive monitoring solution. Monitoring system performance, status, and utilization can identify issues that indicate potential security gaps or point to a possible cyberattack. Systems that inexplicably demonstrate degraded performance could be an indicator of an ongoing attack or a malware infection.
Implement Data Encryption
While the goal of IT security is to prevent data breaches, they can and do occur. Encrypting data at rest and in transit maintains the privacy of sensitive information even if it is accessed by unauthorized individuals. Many regulatory standards require encryption or an equivalent solution to protect corporate data resources.
In some situations, encryption may result in minor performance degradation, but the protection it offers data resources is worth the inconvenience. Backup media should also be encrypted, especially if it is sent offsite for long-term storage.
Provide Physical Security for Onsite Resources
Physical security is another important aspect of securing onsite computing resources. Physical access to an organization’s computing environment needs to be tightly controlled and monitored. Only authorized personnel should be able to enter a data center with access controlled through biometrics or other reliable means of identification.
Simple measures like locking laptops can improve security and eliminate the chance of stolen corporate assets. Video monitoring and human guards can be incorporated into a physical security strategy to keep an environment secure.
Enact Robust Backup Policies
Data backups have always been an important aspect of a company’s IT strategy. As ransomware attacks continue to proliferate, having a viable and robust backup policy is essential for business continuity. The ability to quickly recover affected systems after a ransomware attack or other type of outage is critical for modern businesses.
A lack of backups can leave an organization with no choice but to acquiesce to the demands of a ransomware gang. Without valid backups, companies may not be able to bounce back after an attack. As mentioned previously, backups should be encrypted to guard against lost or stolen media.
Segment Sensitive Data
Data segmentation can help bolster the security of sensitive or important data resources. Spreading systems out over multiple network segments minimizes the chances that an intruder gains access to the complete environment.
Segmentation also allows systems to be subject to different security-related policies. Individual segments can enforce varying backup and monitoring policies based on the type of data they store and process. This strategy enables companies to concentrate security resources on their most sensitive systems.
Construct Network Firewalls
Network firewalls act as the first line of defense against hackers and significantly improve an organization’s IT security. Firewalls can be implemented using software or hardware with more protection offered by a hardware-based solution. A firewall can slow down network performance and its impact needs to be evaluated before being introduced to a production environment.
The firewall should be monitored regularly using automated methods if possible to gain an understanding of its performance. The information obtained can be used to fine-tune the configuration to further improve security.
Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
Hackers can gain unauthorized access to sensitive data by compromising a single ID and password combination. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) can help reduce the threat of unauthorized access by requiring additional methods of verifying an individual’s identity.
Verification methods include sending a one-time code to a recipient’s cell phone or clicking a link in an email. MFA has become increasingly important to address the security concerns brought about by the growing remote workforce. The second level of authorization helps minimize inadvertently affecting IT systems if login credentials are compromised.
Prescient can Help Strengthen Your IT Security
Hardening onsite IT security can be challenging. Working with an experienced partner helps ensure your systems and the data they store are secure from cyberattacks and unauthorized access. They can identify vulnerabilities and assist in developing a security strategy that fits your unique business situation.
Prescient’s security experts will conduct an audit to assess your environment and select the right tools to protect your IT infrastructure. In addition to implementing the security measures needed to protect your systems, they perform ongoing monitoring and promptly apply security patches. Prescient takes care of security and allows a company to focus on its core business objectives.