As organisations handle larger volumes of sensitive information and embrace new digital technologies it becomes increasingly important to be able to keep data secure and private. In an ever-connected world at risk from more sophisticated cyber threats, maintaining the privacy of customer information, personal data, personnel records and trade secrets is business-critical.
Failing to maintain data privacy leaves businesses open to cyber attacks, which can result in the loss of data, revenues, market share and customer confidence. Ultimately, it can also result in substantial fines, criminal or civil lawsuits and further regulatory punishment.
It’s therefore imperative for businesses to prioritise safeguarding their critical data as they embrace new technologies and working habits evolve. This includes protecting data and users when employees are behind the corporate firewall or working from remote locations.
The following five considerations will help organisations to protect their private data and enhance their ability to comply with increasingly stringent data privacy regulations:
1. Maintain privacy best practice
Human error remains a common cause of data breaches and security events. Indeed, researchers at Stanford University found that 88% of security breaches were caused by employee mistakes, while younger employees were up to four times more likely to fall for a phishing attack.
To avoid these risks, it’s important to implement best practices that advise employees on how to handle and protect data and provide regular training to ensure these processes are enforced. This includes using strong and unique passwords, as well as relying on technology systems to maintain access control.
2. Centralise storage of private data
Many organisations, particularly those in highly regulated industries, continue to maintain ineffective and insecure paper records. The practice runs a major risk of data loss and leakage, which could result in private data ending up in the wrong hands or being destroyed.
Instead, organisations need to maintain digital copies of all their contractual agreements, project information and client communication. Furthermore, they need to look to a storage solution that matches the real-time nature of modern businesses and workforces. This means all project data needs to be stored in a centralised location that’s available to all employees at any time.
This digital, centralised approach removes the risk of private data being lost, stored on user desktops or locked away in individual inboxes, which makes it unavailable to their colleagues.
3. Secure sensitive digital documents
Simply transforming documents into a digital format isn’t enough to protect private data. It needs to be secured to prevent unauthorised access, which is the digital version of locking the filing cabinet. Private data and sensitive information can be secured by restricting the view and read access on sensitive documents and emails.
Also, remember that it’s not only project files that need to be stored securely and centrally. Projects and scope changes are often agreed upon or confirmed via email and other instant messaging applications. It’s therefore crucial that sensitive emails, chat conversations and text messages are stored in a centralised location and receive the same privacy protocols as project documents.
4. Use software to limit data access
As well as maintaining data privacy, businesses increasingly need to encourage collaboration between employees and customers. Securing all documents with a password will only frustrate people, so use software that helps authorised users quickly access the information they need when they need it.
Achieving this is reliant on all employees following the same data storage and email filing rules and processes, while making all project correspondence discoverable to authorised users.
5. Take a proactive privacy approach
Data privacy practices need to be constantly reviewed and revisited to ensure they’re up to date and effective. It’s also critical to continuously monitor for unusual behaviour, such as files and folders being accessed from unrecognised devices or locations. Employees are every organisation’s first line of defence against security events, so it’s important that they always have the right tools to remain secure and provide regular best practice updates.
Maintain data privacy with Mail Manager
Organisations can automatically file all of their emails, project correspondence and documents in secure, centralised locations with Mail Manager. The solution uses artificial intelligence to learn employees’ filing habits and understand where specific types of communication need to be stored. It then automatically files users’ emails into the most appropriate location, which removes the risk of data being stored incorrectly, deleted, lost, or locked in individual inboxes.
As well as making data easily discoverable, Mail Manager also has a powerful search function. This enables any document or email on the database to be discovered within two seconds, which means users can access all project information whenever they need it.
Discover how Mail Manager can help your business maintain privacy and safeguard all your important business communications with a free trial below.