Posted on January 16, 2023.

Enterprises are managing more data — and in more places — than ever.

In 2020, the total amount of data created worldwide was around 64.2 zettabytes. By 2025, that number is expected to exceed 180 zettabytes. Enterprises store this data in an array of formats, from the cloud to on-premises systems, spanning time zones and even international borders. 

With this increased complexity in managing and securing data comes an increased risk of data breaches.

When it comes to data breaches, the stakes couldn’t be higher. The global average cost of a data breach rose to $4.35 million in 2022, up 13 percent in two years. If your data security posture is weak, it means there’s no time to waste, as the consequences of not protecting your data can be catastrophic and costly. That’s why Sanity Solutions is sharing 7 data storage security best practices that your business should implement alongside a tailored security solution.

1. Manage User Access Privileges

The “principle of least privilege” is a security best practice that says users should only have access to the data and information they need to do their jobs. To ensure proper control of user privileges, enterprises should create detailed access policies and regularly audit access levels to make sure that no one has more privileges than necessary.

Most enterprises typically use a combination of two access control types:

  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) – Access is granted to users based on their role in the organization.
  • Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) – Access is granted to users based on user attributes such as location, department and job title.

2. Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication

According to data from ID Agent, poor password security is responsible for more than 60% of data breaches each year.

Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an effective way to increase the security of access points and reduce risk. MFA requires users to present two or more pieces of evidence when logging into a system, such as a password plus a one-time code sent via SMS or email.

By implementing MFA across all access points, organizations can significantly boost their data security and reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks. Additionally, enterprises can consider setting up additional measures such as biometric authentication for particularly sensitive data.

3. Add Security Layers to Cloud-Based Solutions

Many businesses turn to cloud-based platforms like AWS, Google Drive and Dropbox for low-cost collaboration. However, platforms like these can introduce security risks because they are, by their nature, ephemeral. It can be hard to track when cloud instances are created, who has access to it, and who can download and share its content. If your business currently uses or is planning to use cloud-based solutions, amp up the security by:

  • Adding content controls like watermarks
  • Setting limits for viewing, printing, downloading, and sharing
  • Adding tracking to gather analytics on documents
  • Preventing sharing and taking screenshots

4. Monitor Network Activity

Organizations should monitor their network traffic for suspicious activity and establish processes for investigation and response when necessary. This involves looking out for unusual data flows, analyzing user access patterns, and monitoring for changes in user behavior.

It also involves continuously scanning for vulnerabilities and actively patching them in order to prevent malicious actors from exploiting any weak points.

5. Allow for Secure Remote Access

With more employees working remotely, it also means workers are physically taking the company’s data with them wherever they go, significantly widening the risk of a breach. For those who travel often, the possibility is even greater: Laptops are stolen every 53 seconds in airports. How do you ensure mobile devices are secure?

Here are a few ways:

  • Establish a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN)
  • Enable encryption
  • Instruct remote employees to be wary of unsecured Wi-Fi networks
  • Never open sensitive documents in public places
  • Never leave company-issued devices unattended

6. Create a Culture of Data Responsibility and Accountability

Security training and education go beyond your IT team; everyone in your company needs to understand the type of data they work with, why it’s important to protect it, and how to keep it secure. Here are just some of the ways you can enforce the importance of data security within your business:

  • Have mandatory training for current and new employees to update them on best data security practices
  • Require the use of strong passwords and two-step authentication
  • Beware of email phishing scams (91% of cyber attacks start with a phishing email)
  • Restrict the ability to download data on outside computers that aren’t secure
  • Hold mandatory refresher courses each year

7. Know the Security Practices of Your Provider

Having a data storage provider can be more cost-effective and productive than an in-house team, but it’s crucial to understand what measures they have in place to protect your data. Here are a few questions you can ask potential providers to make the best decision for your business:

  • How do you implement security?
  • What protections do you use?
  • What backup solutions are in place?
  • What’s the protocol if there’s a breach of your systems?

At Sanity Solutions, we’re more than just a vendor. We act as a trusted partner for big data security solutions for enterprises. Our experts provide the highest level of consulting and guidance to help you choose the best data storage solution — all while maintaining a strong commitment to your success. Contact us today to learn how our innovative data solutions can help you.