Five Best Practices for Data Risk Management in 2021

Although we still don't have a perfect picture of what happened in 2020, we know it was the worst year on record for data breaches and data theft. Some 36 billion records were compromised through September 2020 alone. This should come as no surprise given that many businesses were forced to switch to remote working from one day to the next, and security protocols were inadequate. So, how can you shore up your data risk management for 2021?  

1. Know Your Data

You can't protect the unknown. Before you can even begin to think about how you'll manage your data and lower your risk, you need to know exactly what you have on hand. A bank couldn't accurately report a loss if it didn't know exactly how much money it had in the vault, and the same is true of your data.

Knowing your data means knowing where it resides on your file system, what it contains, and who can access it. Manually searching through every subfolder would take months, if not years. By the time you finish, your findings would already be useless as your data is constantly changing. Automation is the only way to produce an accurate and up-to-date picture of your data. 

2. Control Data Access

Once you know your data, you then need to determine who can access it. The vast majority of breaches occur due to employee error, often because of phishing attacks. Of course, you can't simply lock all of your data away. How can you regulate data access without excessive limitations that hinder productivity?

A smart platform can give you a good idea of who needs to access a given piece of data. Consider looking at historical access records to see which users interacted with the data. Then you can tell the platform to apply a set of rules for similar pieces of data. This way, the sales team can modify data relevant to their department, but your creatives won't accidentally compromise it if they get caught in an attack.

3. Standardize Data Transfer Policies

Remote work has made data risk management a nightmare forCDOs and CTOs alike. Your IT staff has crafted a secure bubble within the walls of your offices, but outside those walls anything is possible. Your employees may not have secure Wi-Fi at home, for instance. They could have compromised equipment also.

Therefore, it's important to put limits on data transfers and prevent all of your sensitive information from leaving the confines of your secure servers.Cloud storage is a useful tool for remote work situations, but you then run into the problem of creating duplicate data when you have people working in the office and at home.

You can avoid these problems and ensure that your data doesn't run amok by using an intelligent platform that keeps track of your files and helps you find redundant or outdated versions.

4. Keep Your Data Clean

Speaking of redundant and outdated data, it's important to keep this data out of your system at all times. These files pose a risk since you're unlikely to notice them or pay them much mind. But they're the most likely to be stolen by cybercriminals.

Trivial data likewise clutters your file system and could contain data you don't want out in the open. Even though you want as much data as possible to derive useful insights with your BI tools, realize that every megabyte adds to your risk. Ideally, you should only have the data you need to use on hand and everything else resides either in cold storage or is deleted.

5. Automate Everything

If everything we've said so far sounds like a lot of work, you're right. It would be an insurmountable task for a few individuals, and even with a whole team it would be a miserable undertaking. There's only oneway to have a clear understanding of your data every day: Automation.

Automation can apply restrictions to files according to your preferences. You can limit access with a single click. As new files are generated or acquired, an automated platform parses them and determines what rules to apply. Best of all, once the platform knows your data, you can know it better too. Just use the powerful search function.

If you want less risk for your business, more control over your data, and actionable information, then you need Aparavi. Our smart data management platform will help you understand your data and keep it from spiraling out of control. Get a data risk assessment from us today to see just how Aparavi can help your enterprise.