7 Essential Security Measures for Protecting Business Data

7 Security Essentials For Your Business

Data security protects mission-critical information such as payment information, customer and personal records, patented work and intellectual property. Keeping this info safe is critical for any business and requires encryption, backup solutions, and strong access controls.

The network layer ensures security within a network domain, isolating threats from spreading to other areas. This includes implementing firewalls and intrusion detection systems.

1. Encryption

Encryption is one of the most popular and effective data security methods. It translates readable text into an incomprehensible code (ciphertext) using cryptographic mathematical models known as algorithms. To decrypt it back into readable text, you must have the right key or password.

Encryption is used to protect sensitive information and communications from unauthorized third parties, and to prevent data breaches. It is a crucial tool for businesses that rely on customer trust like ecommerce sites, banks, healthcare providers, military organizations and power and energy companies. It’s also required by many compliance regulations including PCI and HIPAA.

2. VPN

A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. It masks your device’s real IP address and encrypts your data to protect you from cybercriminals, ISPs, and government surveillance.

Many websites use cookies and other tracking techniques to identify users, even when they’re using a VPN. A VPN prevents web trackers from seeing your search information and browsing habits, which can help you avoid price discrimination on things like flights, hotels, or textbooks.

A VPN can also help you stay safe on public Wi-Fi, or get around censorship in countries that impose heavy restrictions online. Choose a VPN that uses strong encryption, and has a kill switch that cuts off your internet connection if the VPN disconnects or loses its signal.

3. Firewall

Firewalls act as barriers to prevent unauthorized access and cyber threats like ransomware, malware, viruses, Trojans, phishing, spyware, and adware. They can be either software or hardware, and they monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic.

Packet filtering firewalls inspect incoming packets (small chunks of data) at the network layer, allowing or blocking them based on rules set by administrator-defined criteria. These criteria include the source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and application protocols.

Proxy firewalls, on the other hand, inspect incoming and outgoing traffic at the application layer. This type of firewall is more secure as it can identify and block many types of malicious data.

4. Intrusion Detection System

The intrusion detection system monitors network activity for potential threats and alerts the enterprise if it finds them. It works in tandem with the intrusion prevention system to ensure that no threat goes unnoticed and prevents them from causing damage.

The system uses either a signature-based or anomaly-based monitoring method to identify malicious activity. Signature-based monitoring compares incoming packets against a database of known attack patterns. This approach can be effective but doesn’t protect against new malware.

The anomaly-based method looks at a baseline standard of normal network traffic and identifies any deviation from it. This is a more heuristic approach that requires constant updating to stay current.

5. Authentication

Authentication is the process of verifying a user’s identity. Once this is accomplished, authorization policies can determine the access privileges for that user.

The most common method of authentication is using a username and password to prove identity. This is a critical step in information security, as it ensures that only authorized users can gain access to secure systems.

Authentication can also include device fingerprinting, which can detect when a user’s credentials aren’t being used on the same device as usual. This helps prevent credential theft, one of the most prevalent cyber attacks.

6. Data Loss Prevention

Data loss prevention refers to the strategies, processes, and technologies cybersecurity teams use to prevent sensitive information from being stolen or lost through data breaches, unauthorized access, and exfiltration. It’s essential for businesses because data is a competitive differentiator and provides critical information about customers.

DLP protects sensitive data in motion over the network, at rest on managed endpoint devices and in cloud applications and storage. It also alerts and automatically blocks file actions that violate security policies. Successful DLP programs begin by classifying the organization’s most valuable data assets, such as personally identifiable information, financial data, regulated information, and intellectual property.

7. Network Monitoring

Modern-day networks are complex combinations of crucial components such as routers, switches, firewalls and servers. Network monitoring enables organizations to gain visibility into these devices and connections so they can quickly identify and resolve issues before they become major problems that impact productivity.

Network monitoring involves a set of procedures that include discovery, mapping, monitoring, reporting and alerting. Network traffic monitoring analyzes device-level data to detect cyberattacks and other malicious activity. Configuration monitoring identifies day-to-day changes (drift) and audit compliance exceptions that don’t match design policies. Performance monitoring tracks metrics such as CPU and memory utilization, power supply voltages and fan operation.

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