Safeguard Your Company Data – A Three Step Guide Published December 15, 2015 | By Achim Neumann, President When it comes to data security, every company will have different needs to keep information out of the hands of rogue players. However, the logical framework that governs the creation of a data security strategy remains similar across all business sectors. If a business is looking to safeguard company data, this three step process will help make a network stronger than it was yesterday… 1) Identify a nightmare scenario, and plan for it No matter the business, there is information within servers that can be used to compromise it, or the lives of employees or customers. One must consider what the aftermath of a data breach would look like if it unfortunately, happens. From enraged customers to the private communications of an executive team being posted on the Internet, a clear vision of what the worst could possibly be is critical so that a plan to repair the damagedone can be created. 2) Determine the chain of command when it comes to data security Many businesses leave the task of security in the hands of IT, but without leadership from the management team above them, a cohesive plan to defend servers from external threats can be hard to achieve. Working with those that manage a businesses’ networks on a daily basis, a chain of command and communication must be clearly laid out to ensure management is addressed and informed on important updates during a time of crisis. Once these lines of communication are in place, figuring out whether current network defenses are adequate and what happens in the event of a hacker attack will become a more straightforward task. 3) Find out what risks exist, and address them ASAP Once a data security team is in place, risks can be effectively identified so that they can be neutralized. While a current staff member may be capable of the work, it is a good idea to consider bringing in outside experts to evaluate systems and train other staff members. A professional data security team will also be able to spot gaps in security that current in-house IT staff may have been oblivious to. Hiring trainers to further build network security skills with current IT employees will also build their skill set and allow them do their jobs more effectively in the future. Once the aforementioned has been implemented, the next step is to isolate weaknesses in a given system, and then draft a policy statement that outlines expectations for all employees in this department with regards to data security. All of the above information is very important for someone who plans to buy a business or sell a business as well. For someone looking to buy a business, it will give peace of mind that the previous owner took their business seriously and the sensitive information of both clients and employees. If an owner plans to sell a business, having a strong security network and up-to-date systems will most likely increase a business valuation as the aforementioned becomes an asset and something new owners won’t have to spend time investigating and implementing.