The 5 Most Critical Steps to Keeping Your Data Safe and Secure

Building an effective cybersecurity strategy is a must for modern businesses, but knowing where to start is a challenge. These steps will help you minimize vulnerabilities and fortify your security.

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Whatever the size of your business, maintaining a healthy security posture in today's dynamic digital landscape is getting more and more challenging. As companies continue to digitize operations, new and increasingly disastrous data security risks become apparent, putting additional pressure on IT teams and security officers to create and sustain secure business infrastructures.

While most organizations recognize the need to keep business data safe, for many, the challenge is knowing where to begin. Here are five of the best and most practical steps you can take to improve your organization's cybersecurity awareness, reduce system vulnerabilities, and fortify your endpoint security.

1. Complete a business risk assessment

First, conduct an audit of critical data and systems and define the channels and services that need to be secured before you venture into any security initiative. Business risk assessments are a necessary part of creating an organized and efficient approach to data vulnerability detection, helping you prioritize how your systems recover from an attack or service disruption. During a risk assessment, organizations should note all connected areas of their operations, areas of potential data leakage, and all security controls currently in use.

2. Prioritize your incident response

As a result of your risk assessment, prioritize your incident response across all connected systems and cloud-based services. In the event of multiple simultaneous security incidents, your organization needs to have a ranking system in place that classifies the incident severity with how long it will take to resolve each issue. When using tools and solutions to minimize your risk profile, having a clearly defined ranking system will enable you to keep data safe using automated enforcement controls that execute security protocols based on your predefined rules.

3. Document incident resolution workflows

Next, document the necessary workflows to address potential high-impact security issues that can impact your business. This process begins by assigning the necessary roles and responsibilities of all members of the incident response team within the organization. As more complex security issues arise, these team members will be brought in to help address them. Once the teams are defined,  outline the sequential events that should take place from when an incident is discovered through when it is resolved.

4. Deploy adaptive data security protocols

Once you've defined how your organization will respond to high-impact security instances then it’s time to implement an adaptive data security model across your network. Adaptive security models help to identify potentially dangerous patterns in user behavior and deploy individualized data security controls that mitigate any potential risks. Dynamic data protection solutions go further than this by allowing you to deploy risk-adaptive threat monitoring across your entire cloud-based infrastructure, enabling you to monitor user activity between your endpoints and third-party cloud applications.  

5. Measure results and improve systems

Regularly analyzing the frequency and severity of data security alerts is critical to hardening your business security over time. Benchmark your high-impact instances over time as you implement new systems and protocols to ensure you're scaling your operations appropriately and meeting necessary regulatory compliance standards. As your business grows and infrastructure expands, audit reporting provides the necessary data to improve your safeguards and address any inefficiencies in your processes.

Balancing your organization's ability to scale while keeping data and mission-critical systems safe and secure is vital to success. These five steps will help you proactively recognize potential data vulnerabilities as they arise. Plus, implementing policies and processes to secure your endpoints will help you successfully reduce your organization's attack surface while continuing to meet regulatory compliance standards.

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