MERIT Solutions Blog

Tip of the Week: 3 Considerations When Securing Personal Information

Tip of the Week: 3 Considerations When Securing Personal Information

Personal information is precious, especially in this increasingly digital day and age. This makes it incredibly important that you are doing everything you can to protect it in your business - whether it is your own or belongs to somebody else. Here, we’ll go over a few tips to help you better protect the data you’re responsible for.

Determine What Data You Have

How can you possibly expect to be able to keep all of your data protected if you aren’t sure of its extent? In simple terms, you can’t. 

Therefore, you need to identify everything that you have, taking note of how your storage is set up and where the kind of data that needs particular protections is saved. This is a great opportunity to reorganize your data storage strategy if need be, adjusting who in your organization can access what.

What information do you collect for your business’ use - customer contact and financial information, including their credit card credentials? What about information you’ve collected about your employees, or any job applicants you’ve encountered?

Knowing what kind of data you have, and how much of it you have, will be crucial to appropriately allocate the security resources to protect it all.

Downsize Your Data

Once you’ve surveyed where your data is stored, you should look more closely at its contents with a critical eye. Is all of it really necessary for your operations, or are there other ways to accomplish the same things that are better for your data security?

For instance, take customer credit card information - unless there is a real business-related reason to retain it, you shouldn’t. The longer you have this kind of data in your possession, the greater your risk of losing it in a breach.

As you are minimizing the data you’re keeping, you should also make sure that you are also limiting who has access to your data - even preventing your different departments from accessing data unrelated to their processes.

Defending Data

Finally, in order to keep your data secure, you need to consider a few things, like the format in which this data is to be stored... and how to best protect that particular format. Any sensitive files and such materials need to be stored on designated devices, with sufficient access controls to prevent unauthorized users from viewing or altering this data. The same needs to apply to any data you store in hard copy format.

In case of a worst-case scenario (where your data storage is breached) you also need to have the means to identify if this has occurred, as well as solutions in place to minimize the damage that can be done.

MERIT Solutions can assist you with all of the above, and more, when it comes to keeping your company’s data secure, especially that information that reveals personally identifiable details. To learn more, reach out to one of our professionals at (757) 420-5150.

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