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How to Easily Avoid a Crippling Data Breach

How to Avoid a Crippling Data BreachWhat do Jimmy John’s, Home Depot, Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michael’s all have in common? All of these major companies have admitted to having a large data breach in the past year, with the most recent being Jimmy John’s on September 25th. Combined, these data breaches have amounted to sensitive data exposure of around 200 million customers. Some of these crippling data breaches could have been avoided by keeping a keen eye on company security systems or taking proper action in response to early warnings. After these massive breaches, large and small businesses alike have been wondering how vulnerable their businesses and customers are to hackers. Luckily for business owners there are many precautionary steps one can take to ensure they have the right measures in place to firmly defend a security breach.

Begin with Data Classification

Company owners and IT personnel should make it their mission to ensure their company’s data is defended by serious precautionary security protocols that can be implemented at the onset of an attack. For starters, we recommend determining which data is more sensitive than others by creating a classification policy. This policy should be discussed with current employees ensuring that they seriously adhere to the standards of data sharing laid out by your company.

Also see: Your Data Classification Policy v. Your Stakeholders

Utilize IT Asset Management Data

IT Asset Management (ITAM) data is a great inventory tool for tracking and managing your IT assets within your company. It keeps your company organized by documenting when assets were acquired and where they are located within your company. ITAM data can also allow a company to identify the highest to lowest sensitive systems based on data on their hard drives.

We recommend creating a numerical classification system logged in the ITAM data that assigns numbers 1 through 5 based on level of sensitivity of the data on each asset. By doing this, you are prioritizing protection on your most sensitive or valuable machines during an attack. For example, a machine marked as a “1” would be highly classified data, therefore earning the highest priority for protection. A machine marked as a “5” would contain public information, and therefore be given the least priority for protection during an attack. At the very least, assets with ratings between 1 and 3 should be protected behind a firewall at all times, and should be tended to first during a breach.

Also see: 5 Ways to Use ITAM Data to Improve Your Data Security

Protect Your Data Even After Your Assets Leave Your Company

Once IT assets have reached the end of their useful life for your company and you decide to dispose of or resell the assets, it is imperative that you seek a company that will properly destroy all extractable data. Some companies like IT Liquidators offer data sanitization techniques that meet or exceed all major national and international regulatory and technical standards.

Maintaining data security from the moment the data is created to the moment it is destroyed keeps sensitive customer and company information out of the hands of criminals. It also prevents negative press surfacing about your company as a result of a data breach and keeps customer and employee relationships intact.

Find out more about IT Liquidators’ certified data destruction services that keep your data out of the wrong hands.

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