1. Create a secure repository - sensitive data can be stored in a manner that provides the owner complete control over who has access, and where they have to be to gain access. In other words the organisation can immediately eliminate the risk of unauthorised users gaining access from the outside. It also ensures that system administrators are no longer able to access the data even although they may be responsible for managing the system that stores the data.
2. Use effective but manageable encryption - methods that do not require administrative intervention removes the risk of keys being managed by systems staff. Symmetric encryption of data offers a solution that removes the need for human intervention, and eliminates the risk associated with recovering private keys. Data should be stored using the strongest algorithms available in the market, such as AES256 and RSA-2048
3. Backup Securely - Backup is a very critical component, and something that can be abused. It is absolutely essential therefore that any system that is used to backup data should do so in its encrypted form with no regards to the method of backup.
4. Segregation of Duties - There needs to be segregation between system management and data management. Additionally there should be hierarchies within data management, such as dual-control which can enforce checks and balances to ensure that highly sensitive data cannot be accessed unless authorisation has been given. If possible the access to, and responsibility for, data should be devolved to the relevant departments. For example there is no reason why anyone outside of HR should have access to HR data. There needs to be a flexible policy within departments so that users can manage other users who are at the same level or lower than them.
5. Proactive Alerting - By having automatic reporting of user activity, anytime anyone who is authorized accesses a sensitive file the system cannot automatically report this activity. By having this at departmental level ensures that management can identify potential inappropriate behaviour at an early stage since they are aware of the sensitive data under their control, and can thus identify misuse at an early stage
So what’s it to be? Are you going to get to grips with your data security or just hire honest Scotsmen? Doing nothing risks internal sabotage with the associated problems, and there’s only a limited supply of honest Scotsmen.
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