Data security breaches can cause businesses to incur considerable costs. At the same time, being too conservative in your data management approach can leave you behind the competitive curve, unable to extract the type of data insights that can boost business outcomes. IT and data management leaders today are trying to strike the right balance between these two priorities, while also ensuring they have sufficient company-wide buy-in to execute an effective data management strategy.
While it may seem like the largest businesses have an advantage when it comes to data management, their size can often be a liability. Large organizations are often older, built over time, and with data spread across several legacy systems. In the most extreme cases, each department may have incompatible systems that necessitate complex, time-consuming, and expensive integration projects to ensure effective use and protection of data.
Even in well-run, fully integrated IT ecosystems at very large companies, data management is often unwieldy. On the other hand, smaller organizations typically have simpler data systems, relying heavily on a few cloud-based services or internal data platforms. Such businesses can adapt some of the general security approaches of industry leaders and implement them faster and more easily.
Understand How Data Functions at Your Company
An effective data management and security policy requires an understanding of your organization’s operations and data usage to achieve business goals. As part of this scoping process, it’s important to get a sense of all the different types of data throughout your company, who uses it, and how precisely it’s used. This can serve two purposes: One, you can determine possible security weaknesses. Two, you can develop a long-term plan that seeks to help business units in the company use this data more effectively through collaboration or better-designed analytics.
For some organizations, data security may trump all other concerns. In such cases, it may be better to implement stricter data management policies, even if they limit collaboration and make it more difficult to take advantage of data analytics. Most organizations don’t need to follow this extreme path. Instead, they should seek to balance security with an ability to leverage big data and to identify patterns that can help business units.
Looking at both of these areas is important. When working with business partners, many IT leaders find them receptive to data approaches that increase sales or otherwise bolster the bottom line. It’s often more difficult to convince the executive suite of the necessity of investing in data security and other protections, which can be perceived as cost centers. It typically takes a breach or other crisis for this to seem like a pressing need. Security is always a pressing concern, but when building a business case for security investment, it’s valuable to look at what factors may be most compelling to business leaders.
Outline and Implement a Data Management Plan
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, a company should consider several factors in crafting a data management plan, including “the company’s overall strategy, its regulatory environment, the data capabilities of its competitors, the maturity of its data-management practices, and the size of its data budget.” Both implementing the plan and ensuring long-term adherence are important.
As part of the process of executing a data management and security policy, here are some steps that you should follow:
- Determine appropriate security levels for all devices and systems
- Control user access and look for any irregularities
- Monitor access patterns of remote systems
- Employ encryption based on data sensitivity
- Ensure employees follow best security practices
These steps should be customized to your organization’s needs. Data security planning should also include steps for effective data breach management. By putting this all together, potential security risks can be anticipated and prevented.
Data Security is an Ongoing Effort
As data management continues to evolve, having robust security measures in place helps build a strong foundation for future growth. Effectively managing data security can often be a complex, time-consuming process. To mitigate this, it’s important to look for solutions built on superior technology and proven best practices.
Many businesses find it useful to look to managed security service providers. They can provide experience and technology, both of which help to ensure a high-level of data security without the costly investments that an in-house solution entails. This can make it easier to ensure continued adherence to data security requirements. The more control you have over data security, the easier it is to free up internal resources for other projects, such as developing ways to leverage data to support business units. Better data security can lay the groundwork for improved business outcomes.
To learn more what ShoreGroup can do for you, contact us today.