If you have noticed, there have been an increasing number of corporate data breaches.  As a matter of fact, they have become too common that people are used to them now.

If you have a business, you may think that it is not important to protect sensitive information and ignore your data security. However, you will be surprised by the amount of data that need to be protected. From your phone numbers, addresses, and credit card numbers to medical and financial data, and those are just but a few.

Handling sensitive information is extremely important: and there are processes to help with this.

Obviously, there exist some common processes for dealing with data in the corporate industry, however, most of the time; SMEs get carried away by the daily business activities that they don’t really care about establishing data processes. When you view it at an information security angle, it can get worse. To create risk and align with the latest regulations, this data should be your tool.

Data security starts and ends with the right workflows

Before you create a process for protecting data, you need to know the type of data that you have and where it is stored, so as to organize it

Remember that all information is not equal.  Some data are more sensitive than others and need a high-level of security while others are not. Data needs to be broken down into categories such as confidential, and internal. Classifying data will help you know which process to implement for each category.

Once you understand how data operates in your business, you will be able to create an ideal workflow. You should know that establishing the best process will take some time, and you will encounter countless errors. If you have been using a conventional approach for some time, then the problem may be with your partners or employees.  However, if you allow them to be part of the process, you’ll be able to cooperate easily.

Check out the following helpful tips:

  1. Create a responsibility assignment matrix

Use a RACI matrix for all the crucial projects, and if necessary, the entire organization. RACI represents Responsible Accountable, Consult, and Inform. The matrix will outline every obligation of each person, who is to make decisions, and who is accountable for what process. This tool will help keep things in order and reduce confusion in your company.

  1. Form an information security committee

Having a security committee is very important irrespective of your firm size.  With this group, you can operate your own security program by managing risk activities and deciding on which baseline controls to use.

Even though, you need to invite representatives from all the departments in your company. This will ensure that every individual in the firm knows how data security is important.  Employees should know how to spot risks and how they can apply best practices to curb these risks.

  1. Gather all the tools that work for you

Once you have everyone on-board, the next step is to give them the necessary tools. There is no need to build an internal system from the basics. There are numerous SaaS platforms that can help you. Some good examples include Trello, Asana, JIRA, Workday, Foundation Server, and Team. Try out several other programs and choose the one that works well for you.

  1. Document and store your procedures and processes.

This may sound easy, but it is only a handful of firms that document their policies, methodologies, and processes. If you do not document your workflow, everything will start to break down.  Although it is good to have plans, execution won’t be successful without the right documentation.

You cannot share the right security data to every individual or train new employees without a documented process. And if you already have documentation, do not ignore the process.  You can even use collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Wikis so as to be able to retrieve your information whenever necessary.

  1. Draft an incident OT crisis response plan

As security attacks become more rampant, you need to prepare well. Make sure to have a process that will help you take action and help you know regulatory and contractual requirements for reporting an attack such as stipulating service agreement with clients-and-customers in case of an attack.

After an attack, find the root cause of the incident.  You may find issues with your system that provided a leeway for the attacks.  For instance, a worker may corrupt data, or a hacker breaches a system or experience denial-of-service threat.

Learning how to classify your data will help you create the right workflows for your business. When everyone is on the same page, you will be in a position to protect your customers’ information as well as your own.

Author Bio

Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.