Safeguard all business information. The use of uncontrolled portable storage devices, such as flash drives and DVDs, puts considerable volumes of data at risk. These devices are easy to lose and they can be stolen quite easily if left lying around. In many cases, the data that is on portable storage devices is often not protected using encryption.
5. “Need-to-know and need-to-use”
Enact technological barriers that permit device use according to a clear and defined policy. Recent studies show that data leakage by employees increases when people lose their job. Portable devices such as USB stick or PDAs can hold large volumes of data. Monitoring and controlling their use on the network is key to reducing the risk of data leakage or malicious activity by disgruntled employees. Use of devices should be restricted to those who really need to be mobile.
6. Data Handling Policies
Implement stringent security policies with regard to how data is accessed, handled and transferred. Technology alone will not protect a company’s data. Strong and enforceable security policies as well as employee and management’s awareness of security issues will go a long way towards improving the level of storage security within an organization.
7. Simple Employee Communication
Explain the meaning of each policy in clear and simple language how each one is implemented throughout the organization.
8. Employee Education
Employees need to be reminded that they should not leave their passwords written on a sticky note on their monitor. They need to understand that sharing passwords is equivalent to sharing the key to their home. They need to be told not to divulge any information to third-parties without authenticating the request. They need to have a basic understanding of security and the most common threats, eg email phishing and social engineering. Additionally, they should be reminded that their actions are being monitored and that they are accountable to the company.
9. Backup Everything
Backup all communications and data to, from and within the business. Check your backups regularly to ensure that if the company’s network is down, you can get everything online in a short time-frame. You don’t want to be in a position where your backups are corrupt.
10. People Management
Storage security is more than protecting the data using technology or placing it under lock and key, it is also an exercise in people management. The people using and creating the data are the greatest threat and weakest security link.
Even with spending overall on security expected to rise, “doing more with less” will remain the mantra for much of 2009. By following these basic tips, SMBs can get through the challenging economic climate without compromising their IT security.
By subscribing to our early morning news update, you will receive a daily digest of the latest security news published on Help Net Security.
With over 500 issues so far, reading our newsletter every Monday morning will keep you up-to-date with security risks out there.