How to stay ahead of the game when it comes to protecting your company’s data

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje)

Data loss is serious business and is an issue with which many companies are forced to face, either proactively or reactively every single day. Indeed, data breaches are becoming increasingly serious as cyber criminals continue to up their game when it comes to targeting intellectual property (IP), putting both individuals and businesses in danger. Last year saw the personal data of hundreds of millions of people compromised as a result of both insider and outsider hacking and network vulnerabilities, affecting global brands such as Facebook, Marriott and Quora. Not only did this watershed year for data breaches massively undermine customer confidence, in addition to putting customers at risk from further security issues, it wiped millions off those companies’ share values and massively damaged their reputations and trust in their brands.

Despite this, new statistics released by the Information Commissioner’s Office reveal that not only do companies remain late in reporting data breaches but that, even when they do report them, they are frequently submitted with an inadequate level of detail. Minimising the potential damage to their business therefore remains a huge challenge for companies.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) companies must now report a breach to their local data protection regulator within 72 hours of detecting it – the reality, however, is very different.  The simple truth is that businesses are taking an average of 60 days to first discover a breach and then a further 21 days to submit their reports to the ICO.

In the UK alone, 28 per cent of companies face weekly cyber-attacks, 26 per cent face them once a month and 24 per cent face them daily, with businesses collectively encountering more security incidents on a daily basis than their counterparts in France, Germany and Sweden (Source: IDC). Despite this, a further study specific to the Nordics has shown that more than 50 per cent of businesses in the region reference cloud security and data-loss protection as their main IT-security priorities right now.

What is evident is that, while both the prospect and reality of data loss is becoming an increasing problem for organisations and while those organisations are recognising the importance of protecting their data, most companies do not have the technical know-how, skills, technologies or processes in place to either detect breaches in a timely manner or to properly report them. Not only this, but the role of human error in causing security breaches is an increasing problem for businesses however staff remain untrained on how to both identify and address a potential hack.

Top of the agenda

With digital transformation top of the agenda in what has increasingly become a data-driven economy, how can companies keep up with the speed of change while simultaneously protecting their data in a way that does not open them up to further risk?

First and foremost, companies need to put data security and privacy at the top of their agenda. This involves both educating and training employees on the potential risks of data loss and how to prevent it, in addition to deploying one of the many cloud and SaaS-based solutions available on the market today. Through investing in both, organisations are immediately able to take a more hands-on-approach to data management and protection, ultimately saving them both time and money.

These however are not the only strategies for preventing breaches, as there is another solution which many companies either are not aware of or do not consider when the subject of data protection comes up. And that is cloud-to-cloud back-up – the piece of the security pie which protects those SaaS solutions, enabling businesses to adopt new cloud technologies without the fear of data loss. Simple to set up and deploy, businesses are now, in a few easy steps, able to find and recover historic data in no time at all. Practically, what this means is that both the 60-day window for discovering data breaches and the 21-day window for reporting them should dramatically reduce, minimising further damage to your business.

The introduction of blockchain – a complicated and overused (and often misused) term – is also creating opportunities for companies to find lost data across time and instantly restore it, again minimising the risk to productivity. A distributed ledger, it offers transparency, decentralisation and data integrity to businesses, enabling those businesses to both track their data and to stay compliant by being in a position to provide that data to auditors when needed.

So, for those companies looking to better manage the security of their data, when rolling out those SaaS-based solutions, think about the back-up part from the very start of the process. After all, it’s no good investing time, money and resource in getting up to speed in technologies which can protect data loss if the you have no way of tracking it the minute it’s lost. Back-up, be safe, and be content in the knowledge that you can find that missing data and avert a crisis of share value, reputation and trust when it all goes wrong.

Frederik Schouboe, CEO, Keepit Group
Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje