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By Sanjay Khatnani, Managing Partner, J2 Solutions

Over the past year, we’ve been talking a lot about using your data to uncover revenue opportunities,how secure is your data retain customers and improve operational efficiencies. Last month, we zeroed in on the importance of setting new year’s data resolutions with your data strategy. As you evaluate your data goals, priorities and investments to inform that strategy, don’t forget about data security. Though investing in data security won’t bring in revenue or cut costs, it will protect your business against the potentially catastrophic loss associated with a data breach.

When businesses coast to coast (and continent to continent) were forced to adopt a work-at-home model, millions of employees began accessing their corporate networks from their home computers. This gave cybercriminals a much larger attack surface to work with. The truth is, it’s pretty easy for a cybercriminal to compromise a remote worker’s home network. Once they do, it’s even easier for them to move laterally to the business network and launch a ransomware attack.

While ransomware threats are not new, COVID has given hackers additional ammo to trick even the smartest of people into making mistakes online, putting business data at risk. Alarmingly, most companies have insufficient cybersecurity practices in place with unprotected data—a costly mistake. In fact, more cyberattacks occurred in the first six months of 2020 than all of 2019,* while data breaches exposed 36 billion records.**

With those staggering statistics in mind, what steps have you taken to secure your data? How are you preserving its integrity, authenticity and confidentiality? And what backup and recovery protocols do you have in place?

If you haven’t thought through any of these questions, now is the time. Every minute that passes is another opportunity for a hacker to compromise your data—and your business.

Here are ten steps you can take to secure your data in 2021:

  1. Perform a risk assessment of your existing data
  2. Identify and classify your company’s most sensitive data
  3. Develop a data governance strategy
  4. Identify data breach response measures
  5. Educate your staff on data security best practices
  6. Institute monitoring protocols to ensure compliance
  7. Use secure collaboration tools for employees, customers and partners
  8. Define who has access to what data and monitor regularly
  9. Implement endpoint security systems
  10. Use multi-factor authentication

The cost of not securing your data can be massive. As new security threats continue to emerge, organizations simply cannot afford to ignore their data security. The steps above may seem daunting on the surface, but we can help remove that burden. Our team of seasoned data management pros can help you build a data strategy with robust security practices and protocols—so you don’t fall victim to the destructive acts by the world’s most brilliant cybercriminals.

* https://securityboulevard.com/2020/11/more-cyberattacks-in-the-first-half-of-2020-than-in-all-of-2019/

**https://pages.riskbasedsecurity.com/hubfs/Reports/2020/2020%20Q3%20Data%20Breach%20QuickView%20Report.pdf

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