The Importance of Data Security
16 February, 2016
Data breaches are becoming more common, with stories of hacks and unauthorised access to personal data appearing every few days. It doesn’t matter any more how big or small your business is, every company is a target for hackers – which means the importance of data security should never be underestimated.
Cyber attacks can end up costing businesses big, with last year’s TalkTalk hack estimated to cost the company around £35m after financial details of customers were stolen. However, a high profile hack which is possibly even more worrying is the recent data breach a kids toy firm VTech, where a database of children’s personal data was accessed.
An estimated five million customers were affected in the VTech hack. The company specialises in electronic toys and educational games for children, and the online gateway is used to download content for VTech devices. Although banking details were not accessed from the database hack, leaked information includes parents’ names, children’s names and dates of birth, mailing addresses, email addresses and passwords. Security experts say this is really worrying as it affected hundreds of thousands of children and nobody knows who has accessed the information and what could be done with it.
It seems that companies are learning the hard way that data security needs to be a number one priority. 25% of firms don’t know their data protection obligations, and there is a large fine if it’s found that companies aren’t doing enough. Once a breach has taken place there is no going back – businesses can lose customers and their reputation. Ensuring the safe storage of personal details of your customers is accountable by law, and organisations need to be doing absolutely everything in their power to protect their customers.
Good Data Protection Practices
It’s important to reduce the change of a data breach by putting procedures and policies in place, such as:
- Secure storage – don’t store sensitive information where it could be easily lost or stolen, such as on your laptop. Make sure servers are encrypted and any physical data is locked away with restricted access.
- Releasing data – how easy it is to phone up a company and pretend to be someone you’re not? Make sure you run thorough security checks before releasing data to ensure you don’t give data to the wrong hands.
- Offer training for staff – regardless of how many members of staff can access data, you need to train all employees in the importance of data protection. You should also write up guidelines for staff to reduce the chance of mistakes.
To find out more about securing your data centre, talk to our team of experts.