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Expert tips to prevent data loss

Data breaches are  becoming a major concern for businesses, with a recent survey by Check Point Technologies and Ponemon Institute finding 77 percent of organisations have experienced data loss in the last 12 months.

Check Point ANZ Regional Director Scott McKinnel said the adoption of more Web 2.0 applications means organizations need to reinforce their data security.

Most of the time, these breaches are caused by simple mistakes such as misdirected emails. Normally these are harmless, but occasionally these could cost the company millions if sent to the wrong person.

“The majority of incidents are unintentional. We need to move from curing the problem, to preventing the problem,” McKinnel said.

Better technology is one way to fix the problem, but this must be combined with greater staff awareness. According to Ponemon Institute Chairman and Founder Dr. Larry Ponemon, “the lack of employee awareness is a primary cause in data loss incidents…more businesses (should) educate their users about corporate policies.”

McKinnel has compiled the following top tips for making data more secure:

1.    Know where your sensitive data is – Keep a record of your organisation’s sensitive data and which types of data are subject to government or industry-related compliance standards.

2.     Classify sensitive data –Create a list of sensitive data types and their levels of sensitivity. Make document templates to classify data by Public, Restricted or Highly Confidential. This will create awareness for employees about corporate policies and what constitutes sensitive information.

3.    Secure data throughout its lifecycle –Protect data throughout its lifecycle: data-at-rest, data-in-motion, and data-in-use.

4.    Eliminate the compliance burden –Implement solutions with policies customised to meet specific government and industry compliance regulations.

5.    Involve your staff. With better technology and greater awareness, employees learn to avoid risky behaviour as well as how to capture the data that does sometimes get through.

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