If your business has already taken the basic IT security steps such as ensuring firewall and anti-virus protection is installed on your network, then the next step to enhance your security still further is encryption.
All major companies across the globe utilise encryption and more and more small businesses are following suit, especially as many companies are switching to the cloud, which means the secure data they collate is no longer solely in their hands.
In today’s business world data protection should always be a priority, so if you want to ensure that your small business doesn’t run the risk of a serious security breach then take a look at these 5 reasons why you should encrypt your sensitive data.
What is Sensitive Data?
All types of businesses collect sensitive data about their staff, clients and the people they come into contact with. This type of data should always be handled with care and the upmost steps should be taken to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Types of sensitive data include:
- Criminal records
- Sexual preferences
- Mental or physical health
- Membership of unions
- Religious or spiritual beliefs
- Political convictions
- Ethnic or racial origin
- Information regarding children
- Financial information
1. Complete Data Protection
If data is stolen from your company files and it’s been securely encrypted, it would take a hacker a lifetime to break the code and get their hands on the information.
2. Multi Device Security
Thousands of people use mobile devices like tablets and smartphones for work, which has allowed more of us to work from home and when we’re on the move. Despite stringent security measures, when data is travelling in and out of your walls at a rate of knots it’s impossible to keep complete control over who can access it. When data is encrypted there’s no danger of information being used if it does end up with the wrong person.
3. Secure Transmission
Data being sent from one destination to another can be intercepted and transferring data in this way can pose a security risk. You can encrypt information that you’re sending through email or through the cloud so that it can’t be viewed by an unauthorised person.
4. Data Integrity
Whilst data theft is one way to take advantage of unencrypted information, it can also be misused through manipulation. Hackers can target specific data and disrupt communications within a company or change important figures. When encrypted data is used a hacker will either not be able to access the file, or if it is accessed the recipient will easily be able to see that it has been changed.
5. Ensure Compliance
Data protection is a hot topic in the business world and many companies need to adhere to strict regulations as to how they store the information the collect. Utilising encryption can help ensure that your business meets all its contractual and legal requirements. This could entail providing specific customer protection or archiving data such as banking information. In the majority of cases the simplest way to ensure your compliance is to encrypt your data.
About The Author
Damian Coates is a senior IT consultant at Utilize, the leading IT support company in London. He is a fierce advocate of data protection and has implemented a range of solutions for clients during his career.