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Why is data security important to a business?

"Data is the new oil of the 21st Century" - words spoken by Clive Humby perfectly illustrate the scene of today's business. It turns out that it is not enough to have "digital oil". The trick, however, is to be able to intelligently and responsibly refine data into fuel for specific business projects or more advanced services for customers. Practice shows that in the pursuit of valuable data, many unethical companies leave behind a social footprint in the form of distrust from ordinary people. Hence, the topic of data protection is becoming increasingly important.

Living in a Big Data World

We live in a time when one of the most valuable things in the world is information. Information topples governments, contributes to the success or failure of companies, and can cost vast amounts of money. Check for yourself how many gigabytes, or even terabytes, of data you have on your computers, laptops and smartphones.

What can be done with so much data? The goal of businesses should be to turn it into valuable information that they can then use to make better business decisions.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for companies that hold data to be attacked by cybercriminals. According to IC3’s Internet Crime Report 2020, in the past 5 years, the number of cybercrime complaints received by the FBI across the globe has increased by 165% with a total of 2,211,396 complaints in the reported period. As a result, the monetary loss per year has increased from 1.5 billion in the year 2016 to 4.2 billion in the year 2020. In the UK, the cybercrime rate has doubled in 5 years - 1.5 million organisations fell victim to cybercrime in 2019, which equates to 25% of all UK businesses, compared to 13% in 2015, according to Beaming’s report.

The massive penetration of the internet and the increase in computer networking capabilities have made concerns about the security of corporate databases ever greater. Critical business information, for example, a pharmacy’s patient data or an auto dealer’s consumer data, is a clear target for cybercriminals. Consequently, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and authority of data is a significant concern for companies and Business Intelligence (BI) professionals.

How to protect data in your company?

There are many ways to protect data effectively. The introduction of specific tools will depend mainly on the amount of data you want to secure and the threats that arise within your business. It is essential to remember to secure physical and virtual documents in the digital age, monitor threats, and take deliberate action to eliminate them constantly.

You may find the following useful:

1. Backups

At the heart of digital data security are backups. They should be made not only as a backup when formatting computers or transferring data to new hardware but regularly as a safeguard for documents and data. Backups give you the chance to recover your data in the event of failure, hacking attacks, hardware problems or other emergencies.

2. Secure passwords

Enforcing regular password changes or special characters and capital letters in passwords is the best for a company environment. Passwords that are difficult to crack increase the time to block a potential hacking attack and restrict access to data to persons who should not have such access. Sensitive data files and company computers, e-mail accounts, cloud-based services and access to servers or individual programs should be protected with passwords. The principle of limited trust is highly recommended in this case - if a password is created for the use of a limited group of people, it should not be granted to all company employees.

3. Regular software updates

Updates are created, among others, to exclude previously found errors and security gaps. Skipping them exposes you to attacks from cybercriminals, but also more frequent breakdowns or system errors. Threats to data security are often based on discovered security flaws and exploit user ignorance for their purposes. For company computers that process hundreds of essential data and information every day, up-to-date software is the basis of security.

4. Use of servers

Storing data exclusively on a desktop computer has long since ceased to be considered secure or practical. Nowadays, it is much safer to use your own servers, cloud servers, or dedicated servers bought for exclusive use in external data centres.

5. Company privacy policy

Whether you are contracting with an external company for services or working on your internal privacy policy, you should always focus on the security and risks discussed and make your employees aware of them. A company's privacy policy is to be put in place not just for the sake of formally fulfilling the obligation to have one but as a basic tool to guarantee the security of the company's and its customers' data.

6. Use specialists and trusted software

When working with data, it's a good idea to rely exclusively on proven software. Both installed on computers and available in the cloud. When implementing data security in your company, use the offer of specialist companies dealing with network security and offering comprehensive services in this area. This issue also applies to the use of tools provided by third parties. Their experience and industry knowledge will be much more effective than trying to search on your own.

Real World Analytics is an ISO27001 certified provider for cloud-based BI solutions. ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (ISO 27001) is the international standard that describes best practice for an information security management system (ISMS). For many years we have been helping car dealerships, pharmacy, and retail companies improve their information tools and maximise the value of their data to drive performance. By working with us, our customers can be sure that their data is fully secure.

A cyber-attack can be hazardous for your business and have dire consequences. That is why it is essential to take all precautions and not expose your business to this threat. Implementing the practices described above will help increase the security of your company's data and protect you from the negative consequences of their loss.

Real World Analytics helps pharmacy groups and dealer groups to become data driven and maximise their business performance and profitability.

If you are interested in more information, please contact us at hello@realworldanalytics.com