Understanding Data Security

In today’s technology-led world, data security is both something we take for granted and something we fear. Without thinking twice we ask for our customers’ personal contact details and then enter it into our system. We give our own data to both mega corporations and ma and pa shops every day.

Data security relates to the safe collection, storage and destruction of sensitive information. Any time a business collects data they accept a risk. Understanding cyber security and the risk it poses is the first step in ensuring your business is secure.

Only a decade ago for many businesses, the majority of their stored data was still living in filing cabinets. An increasing reliance on computer systems means that this data is now digitally stored and is at risk of being exploited.

Cyberattacks

A cyberattack is where an unauthorised individual or group gains unapproved access to a computer system or network. The cybercriminal then steals or disables confidential information from the system, often to hold it to ransom

A cyber attack may affect your business’ integrity (will customers still trust you with their data?), productivity (your website and systems may be unusable for a period) and profitability (a major data breach could cost your company hundreds of thousands to rectify).

Cyberattacks can be sophisticated and target government departments and critical infrastructure, but they are just as likely to happen to Australian SMEs. An estimated 78% of businesses will be the victim of a cyberattack each year.

If your business experiences a data breach, you are legally obligated to notify all affected customers and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) as part of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme.

Data Security Measures

The most effective first step of data security is ensuring the systems you are running on are kept up to date and that you have the most suitable and recent security software. Once these programs become obsolete they develop weaknesses that are more likely to be compromised.

It’s also vital to have internal processes that ensure data is securely backed-up. In the case of a hardware/software fail or data breach it’s vital to have all information saved somewhere separately. This also allows an organisation to understand what was lost or corrupted.

Does your staff understand why data security is important? Start with basics such as enforcing strong passwords or using a password manager. Educate employees on how to spot suspicious emails and cautious downloading. More than 90% of security breaches gain access via email.

Data security needs to be an essential aspect of IT for all businesses. Systems need to be kept updated, including the latest in security software, and all employees should be trained in proper data handling and identifying security threats.

For a free IT Security Audit or to discuss an upgrade of your businesses security measures contact us at concierge@efex.com.au.

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