Why is Data Protection important?
Data protection is the act of safeguarding sensitive digital information from unauthorized access and theft. This isn’t done only to protect data, but to also protect the rights of those who own the data. In the UK, all businesses and organisations must be compliant with the Data Protection Act 2018, the UK’s implementation of the GDPR. Keeping data safe is important, as businesses need to make sure that sensitive information cannot be stolen and used by hackers, which will usually always result in large legal repercussions.
In this blog Imagefix take a look at the importance of data protection and ways you can keep your data secure.
What data needs protecting?
Any personal information that is stored by your business, whether it is customer or employee records, transactions, or data collection is legally required to be protected. The sensitivity of this information means that a security fault or violation can result in large fines or even prison sentences. Examples of common data a businesses might store include:
- Phone numbers
- Card or bank details
- Places of address
The guidelines of the GDPR are laid out by the Independent Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to help businesses gain a clearer understanding of how data can be used and what needs to be done to protect it.
Data protection methods
There are a number of ways in which data can be kept secure, with the most common ones being:
- Erasure. Individuals have the right to have their data erased from a system, whenever it is no longer needed by an organisation. Erasing it will cause it to be permanently wiped from a system, rendering it irretrievable. Deletion is different, in that it isn’t always permanent, and simply hides data so that it can be easily retrieved.
- Authentication. Authentication technology can come in different forms, but it is a robust way of protect against potential hackers. Authentication is a process that verifies a users identity matches what is stored on a database. Most commonly, this is seen with an email/username/password login combination, but special security codes and 2 factor methods are also commonplace methods.
- Encryption. Encryption software uses an encryption key, and algorithms (or “ciphers”) to transform normal text into encrypted ciphertext. This renders the encrypted data unreadable to an unauthorised user. An authorised key is required for the data to be decrypted, which means that these must also be kept secure.
- Masking. Data Masking software obscures Personally identifiable information (PII) by replacing numbers or letters with proxy characters. The data is there, but hidden behind the mask, and will only reveal itself when an authorised user receives and views it.
Data protection tips
So just what can you do to make sure your data is safe and sound from criminals? Here are a few tips we recommend to help you cover you tracks:
- Using different passwords for every login you have is important, as it helps restrict the access of data by unauthorised parties. For example, using the same password for a handful of logins means that there is more potential for hackers to access more than one area of data. Regularly changing your passwords is also good practice, and keeping them as complex as possible gives an extra layer of security. The Chrome and Safari browsers both offer strong password generators which you can choose to save securely.
- Installing antivirus software will help prevent malware, trojans, spyware and other viruses from installing without your knowledge. These days it is easy for anyone to add a virus to a download, email or website which can then be used to steal your information. Do not download or install anything from the internet, unless it is from a trusted source.
- Regularly updating your software helps prevent the risk of cyberattacks. Cybercriminals spend hours looking for vulnerabilities in software products, which can allow them to infect computers and steal sensitive data. Making sure you have updated to the latest version of your software means that the creators will have smoothed out any security problems they have found.
- Using encryption or authentication methods makes it extremely difficult for a hacker to bypass. This is because of the way the data may only be accessed by an authorised user who has the required key or code. Encryption is used by businesses and governments over the globe due to the way it renders data unreadable. Different authentication systems will require different kinds of credentials to allow you to proceed – the three categories of which someone may be authenticated are: something the user has, something the user knows or something the user is.
How can Imagefix help?
Do you need a sure-fire way to make sure your business’ data is secure? Let Imagefix help you with GDPR compliance, call us today on 01525 715608