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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Identifying & Managing Your Most Valuable Data

by Editor (editor), , October 01, 2019

We’re just two decades from the turn of the millenium. Modern data as a concept in business is relatively young.

We’re just two decades from the turn of the millenium. Modern data as a concept in business is relatively young. In fact most businesses still require help with all forms of data storage, understanding and structuring. So it's not uncommon for small businesses to be lost in the woods when it comes to identifying their most valuable data. You can call this mission critical data, i.e. data that is so important that it can make or break your business. Mission critical data is also a term used for data that is crucial to project success. On the face of it, this kind of data seems easy to categorize. Yes, data like customer address books, credit card details, profile account details and customer purchase histories are all mission critical status. However other data such as employee social security numbers, government IDs, citizenship status and employee contracts also count as critical data. There are a number of other data categories that should be managed similarly to those already mentioned.

Location and categorizing

The first point of action regarding the management of such sensitive data is locating and analyzing where it is stored. When this has been determined you can then work on making the process of storying mission critical data much safer. You can learn more here, as this company provides services in compliance and security assessments. The assessments include the handling and storage of mission critical files. They provide DFARS, HIPAA, and security assessments. They also do penetration testing to make sure your business is fully prepared for the latest in hacker and malware tactics. Internet-facing systems are usually where the threat comes from as these are exposed to the outside world. This is why mission-critical data and your everyday data should not be intermingled. In the current climate, it's vital that there is good safety and security practices by employees who retrieve and use data from your most protected files.

Critical internal business reports

What is your most sensitive data? There are a number of leading data types that you may believe are the most valuable to your business. Customer data of course is highly prioritized as any sort of leak would damage your reputation with the general public and consumer confidence in your business will likely nose dive. You might also believe that lucrative contracts with other businesses are perhaps the most important. If you have a multimillion dollar B2B contract, you will obviously want to keep that business’ data and contract documents away from prying eyes. This also includes most of your employees too. On the other hand you may also regard your financial and performance reports as the most sensitive data of all.

Just take a look at General Electric and the recent accounting scandal. An independent auditor has been working with a leaker inside the company, and has studied such reports in immense detail. They are now alleging that G.E. has been hiding it's true performance and finances from the stock market and shareholders. This has all come about because someone inside the company had given away incredibly sensitive information regarding accounting reports made by the company.

Now obviously, if you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. It simply doesn’t matter with regards to principle. It's the principle of protecting your internal reports that is important so far as mission critical data goes. Nobody outside of the top level should know how well or how bad your business is doing. If you’re doing very well, this may give grounds for a business you’re trying to partner with to ask for more in the way of equity. Equally if not more damaging to your negotiation position is if negative sales performance reports are leaked. You could be going through a rough patch which you hope to rectify down the road. A partnership with another business would really help your situation. But if the other party reads internal quarterly reports showing bad signs, they are likely to drop out of the deal completely. Keep your business reports private and treat them as mission critical data.

Company devices culture

It's common for many large and medium sized businesses to give their employees company devices from which they can work. For example, Google has been known to give their managers tablets so they can always stay in touch with employees and manage tasks while on the move or at home. It's also common for financial firms to give their leading employees business mobile phones. This is because they may need to urgently contact them in the event of an economic disaster or perhaps something going on in the business if high importance. What this does is create a trail of devices which can be hacked and treated carelessly. Evidently, this would leave them exposed and all of your valuable data could be stolen or seen.

Train your employees to have proper device management and care so they don’t treat the tablets, smartphones and other devices you give them as if they were their own. Proper device security also means, changing passwords every few months. Since these devices are not part of your main systems in your office, they will also have to rely on their own internal apps for security and virus scanning. Hence why, it's crucial to have the best apps to check all your mission-critical files on the devices. Employees must continually treat their devices with the utmost care and attention. There is no excuse why a company laptop should be left on the subway or on the seats of a bus.

Mission-critical data is the highest level of data underneath top secret data. It's value to your business is almost immeasurable. That’s why you need compliance and security systems that specifically protect your mission-critical files. Good employee discipline goes a long way when it comes to device management and care. However before all of this can be done, clearly identifying and categorizing your most valuable data must be done. It will include but limited to employee and customer personal information.



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