Data leakage prevention is a complex and constantly-evolving process. Business owners and private individuals alike must look ahead, address current weaknesses, and take proactive measures to shore up defenses against future attacks. We’ll examine the three key areas everyone must consider as part of their data loss prevention strategy: hardware, software, and people.
Look at Your Hardware
The first step to data leak prevention is examining your hardware. Although most people know to secure their primary desktops and laptops, it’s easy to forget to secure mobile devices as well. These are just as, if not more, vulnerable to attacks. Your data loss prevention strategy should begin with securing all hardware, regardless of size or use. This will keep out malware and prevent hackers from leapfrogging between devices and applications. Keep in mind that all devices are at risk, even printers, and plan accordingly.
Look at Your Software
Data loss and data leakage frequently tie back to loopholes and backdoors in third-party software. Even if users implicitly trust their operating system, which they shouldn’t, they must understand that every application is a potential entry point for an attack. Only use browser plugins that you have researched and trust. Java and Adobe plugins are, obviously, very bad news. However, malware and hackers could be creeping in through other plugins or unsecured applications.
Research is an important part of data leakage prevention. Likewise, updates are also an important part of prevention. No developer is perfect, and they will inevitably discover errors after a software product is sold. Updates and patches help to ensure that these issues do not continue creating opportunities for data loss. They should be free, and if they’re not, then you probably aren’t working with reputable software. Update regularly, and don’t just rely on your automatic update features. They can overlook crucial updates or wait for permission before updating, so you need to check regularly to make sure you aren’t missing something important. No one really likes updates because they slow down work and eat up time, but they’re a huge part of effective data leakage prevention.
Look at Your Employees
Very few employees will intentionally leak data. Even the hardest workers may create a leak accidentally, however. Human error is part of life, making it a part of your business. In order to deal with such problems effectively, you must plan for both prevention and recovery. Prevention includes steps such as monitoring, drilling secure workflow patterns, and rewarding data-conscious behaviors. Recovery involves advance plans on how to stop the data leak and also the consequences for the individuals responsible. Data leakage prevention is always the preferred route, so it makes sense to invest more time and effort into these plans. Don’t neglect your emergency plans, however.
Once your hardware is secured, your software risks have been mitigated, and you’ve developed a more data-conscious work culture, you get to start the endless work of monitoring. Data leakage prevention is not a one-time chore, but an ongoing process. Make sure to update regularly, keep an eye out for new threats, and always know how your employees handle sensitive data.