Data management is essential for businesses of all sizes, both large and small. Not only will it prevent you from losing your most important files, but it can also keep hackers at bay and can help your company adhere to its legal requirements.
As a result, you might need to introduce new tools and processes to protect your documents, videos, photographs, and contracts. If you have yet to take control of your business’s most sensitive files, take the time to read this 10-step guide on how to manage your data.
- Classify Your Data
Many organizations fail to recognize that not all data is created equal. They might also not know who possesses certain files, or how important the data is to the business. The first thing you must do is classify your data from most to least important.
For example, your customers’ information, trade secrets, and employee details should be at the top of your list. Once you have done so, you should prioritize their security and protection. For example, you could encrypt all sensitive documents to ensure the information is never accessed by unauthorized personnel or cybercriminals.
- Understand Your Industry’s Compliance Requirements
Your industry will most likely determine your data compliance requirements, so you must gain a thorough understanding to avoid repercussions. For example, both the healthcare and financial services industry are two of the most heavily regulated industries with strict protocols to follow.
If you fail to be fully compliant, your business could face serious legal and financial penalties. Understanding your industry’s legal requirements could help you to make an informed decision when selecting a data management solution.
- Look for Data Protection Training
Of course, there are data protection courses that can help you to manage your data successfully. For example, you can find the best NetApp training from an accredited learning partner, which could help you learn how to expertly back up your data, recover from a ransomware attack, and prevent data corruption and accidental data loss, plus more.
- Backup Your Files
Backups are essential for data management. Having them in place can protect your business from both accidental and deliberate data loss, such as hardware failure, power failure, software issues, human error, hacking, or a virus infection.
Protect your precious files by backing them up at least once daily, and regularly double check all files are saved to the cloud backup solution at least once per week. While it might feel a little tedious when you’re saving the files routinely to a cloud solution or external hard drive, you’ll be glad you did should you experience any of the above issues.
- Delete Redundant Data to Free Up Storage Space
Rather than clogging up a device or cloud solution with redundant data, you should analyze your files to identify any information you can delete. For example, you could remove old or dated details or delete duplicate copies you no longer need. It will free up your storage space and improve the internal organization.
- Create a Data Recovery Plan
Unfortunately, cybercrime is a very real threat to companies of all sizes, and reportedly cost the world $600 billion in 2017. It only takes a harmful Trojan virus to destroy your files or ransomware software to steal your data. As a result, you might not only lose your sensitive files, but it could also ruin your reputation, which could damage your profitability. What’s more, your company could face serious legal consequences due to your failure to comply with the law.
For this reason, you must develop a data recovery plan should the worst happen to your business. Identify the steps you will take to restore your files, for example, turning to a backup service, such as the cloud.
- Focus on Attention to Detail for Data Accuracy
Effective data management will rely on your employees having great attention to detail. Small errors can lead to worthless or inaccurate data. To ensure this doesn’t happen, develop a standardized data entry policy, and monitor your employees to ensure they are following the procedure. Being a stickler for details will allow you to accurately collate information, which can be used to your company’s advantage.
- Encrypt Your Emails to Protect Files Outside of Your Network
If you want a conversation or file to remain strictly between you and the recipient, you must encrypt your emails to ensure the information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands outside of your network. The only way a person will be able to read the file is if they have the strong password to decrypt the data. It’s one of the most effective ways to protect your information when sending data externally.
- Introduce a Core Data Management Team
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a large enterprise or a small business, you must introduce a core data management team. It will be their role to ensure your sensitive data is securely stored and is available in a backup location, and they’ll be responsible for granting or removing file permissions to personnel.
Your core data management team must include your most trusted members of staff, who must each have the knowledge to protect your sensitive data. However, don’t add too many people to the team, which could overcomplicate the process and decrease your security.
- Secure Files and Folders on Your Network
Sadly, the biggest risk to your data security could be your staff. It’s believed 60% of all cybersecurity attacks in 2016 were carried out by employees. Malicious intent was the cause of three-quarters of the attacks, and one quarter involved inadvertent actors. The top three industries under attack are manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services.
As the biggest threats to your business could be your employees, you must do everything in your power to protect your most sensitive data. That’s why you must secure your critical files and folders on your network. You can even add permissions onto files, such as Read Only to prevent select individuals from editing an important document. Only the core data management team or business owner should be able to change the permissions.
As a strategic account manager, Tambri cultivates new business, and expands and nurtures QuickStart’s existing client base. She works with NetApp reps to facilitate training for their clients. She is passionate about helping IT managers and decision makers meet their objectives through IT skills training in NetApp technologies.