4 tips to make data protection everyone’s business

Most people wrongly assume that the burden of protecting workplace data across laptops, tablets and smartphones falls solely on your IT department. Without active observance of company protocols, however, any data security plan that IT puts in place falls flat, leaving your company’s data vulnerable. You don’t necessarily need to memorize a litany of IT mandates in order to reduce the risk of losing or compromising your work data.

Thinking twice about the cloud-based apps you download and staying up-to-date on the latest password best practices are examples of simple, proactive measures you can take to support your organization’s data privacy efforts.

Here are 4 steps you can take to do your part in keeping your work data safe:

1. Think before you download cloud apps: Cloud-based apps undoubtedly make it easier and faster to share work data on-the-go. To put their popularity into perspective, consider that sync and share apps alone—most of which are targeted to a consumer vs. enterprise audience—have found their way into nearly three quarters of companies. While it’s tempting to use these consumer cloud apps to streamline workflows, consider the risk.

Many times, files aren’t encrypted in these consumer cloud tools and this can put your data in danger – accessible by the cloud vendor, a government issuing a blind subpoena or by someone hacking into the system. Storing corporate data unencrypted in a public cloud can place your organization at risk for theft, leaks and breaches.

2. Think twice about sharing that file: Should you put that customer list in Dropbox? Probably not. Yes, we’re all trying to get more work done faster, but we still have a responsibility to be mindful of corporate data. No one wants be the source of a high profile data breach or security violation that can result in millions in fines or worse.

A simple guideline is to ask yourself, “am I ok with the New York Times running a front-page story on this data getting breached or stolen?” The onus is on everyone because data security really is everyone’s business.

3. Re-think your backup hygiene: When was the last time you backed up your work files? According to Forrester’s Forrsights Devices and Security Workforce Survey, over half of employees assume their companies back up their most important files, whether or not this is actually true. In the same study, two-thirds of companies reported data loss due to lost or stolen devices and accidental file deletion.

Today, most of your critical work files live on endpoints (laptops, desktops, mobile devices), rather than centralized servers monitored and supported by your IT department. Set yourself up for success by making sure that you have a true backup solution in place. You want one that automatically, continuously backs up any and all of your data where it is created and accessed—on your devices. Additionally, it stores a second copy of that data in a separate system. All employees need to understand that just saving a file in the cloud is not backup.

4. Change your password: While IT can force the issue on work-issued devices, regularly changing your passwords on any devices used to access work decreases the chances that your data will be compromised. Does your company offer single sign-on through identity management providers like Okta? Use it. Single sign-on reduces the number of ways in which your credentials can be compromised, further bolstering your data protection efforts.

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