The value of teaching workers data protection strategies

Safeguarding confidential information is more important than ever, especially due to hackers and viruses that pose significant threats to businesses. Many companies are putting the safety of their confidential information in the hands of their employees, which can prove helpful if businesses teach workers about various data protection strategies.

Companies should consider the benefits of educating their staff members before they invest in tutorials. Businesses can develop materials and tools to help workers effectively protect confidential content. Additionally, employees could become more likely to take an active role in these tutorials if they understand how a data breach can affect the content they created.

There are significant benefits to teaching workers data protection strategies.

1. Data backup and recovery
Workers can learn about data backup and recovery in a data security tutorial. When staff members can safely store data and save duplicate copies of certain materials, companies can avoid investing substantial resources in retrieving the information if a critical situation arises.

For example, a business could be victimized by hackers and instantly lose important information. Employees who backed up their documents will be able to quickly retrieve their materials. The company will suffer no delays in its operations and can limit its security threats if workers understand how to successfully backup and retrieve content.

2. The ramifications of a data breach
Staff members can learn about the effects of a data breach through a tutorial. Information that is compromised can impact employees at all levels, so teaching these workers about how to prevent a data breach is critical to a business' safety and success.

Portable document format (PDF) files provide a great starting point. These files feature advanced controls that make them ideal for businesses across the globe, including the ability to add audio clips, pictures, video and more in documents.

However, document security helps distinguish PDFs from other file types. Supervisors can set up login information for employees to access certain materials, which limits the risk of unauthorized viewers.

With PDFs, managers can explain how failing to password-protect a single document can harm businesses. Employees can learn how to effectively safeguard their current materials by saving them as PDFs and take the steps necessary to secure their future documents by using an open standard.

Big data drives importance of chief analytics officer position

The big data phenomenon is rapidly making its way into the private sector, forcing decision-makers to plan how they will manage, store and secure increasingly large volumes of information. This is contributing to the growing belief that chief analytics officer, or CAO, will be a necessary position in tomorrow's business world.

According to a report by Computerworld, this sentiment was showcased at the recent SAS Analytics 2012 conference. Executives realized they need to focus on new ways to extract and secure sensitive information from mountains of data. While the CAO will have many responsibilities, data and document protection will be among the most critical.

"[A CAO-led organization] can find out what data sources are trusted, what tools work, what don't and what projects have been performed in the past," said Jim Davis, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at SAS, according to Computerworld.

A separate report by InformationWeek said big data defense programs will become increasingly important in the coming years, as companies of all sizes continue to acquire substantial amounts of sensitive information regarding customers and employees. If an organization doesn't implement robust document security practices, it will not be able to keep confidential resources safe and remain competitive.

Cloud security concerns are ungrounded, expert says

Cloud computing is seeing adoption throughout the private sector, as companies continue to embrace the technology as a way to host mission-critical documents and resources off-site. Despite the proliferation of cloud services, many decision-makers are still skeptical about the cloud's ability to keep sensitive assets protected. Considering the current state of cloud systems, however, this shouldn't really be the case.

At the recent Australian Information Security Association National Conference 2012, Eran Feigenbaum, Google's enterprise director of security, said the cloud often has more robust document protection capabilities than many other technologies currently being used, according to a report by computing.co.uk.

"There may be different providers and different solutions that are intended for different purposes," Feigenbaum said, according to the news source. "But I believe that cloud computing, compared to what most organizations are doing today, is probably more secure."

Since the cloud movement is virtually unstoppable, decision-makers need to get on board or risk falling out of sync with the rest of their industries. If executives are still concerned about cloud security, they should consider leveraging document rights management and other access control technologies that ensure only authorized individuals have the ability to view confidential records. 

Advanced security tools may minimize data breach risks

Although protecting mission-critical resources is extremely important in today's business world, such strategies often cost companies a lot of money, which can be devastating during the ongoing economic crisis. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute, which said document rights management and encryption tools may help firms stay secure, highlighted this, according to Dark Reading.

"When organizations are breached that have encrypted data, the impact is far, far less," security expert  Mark Bower said, according to Dark Reading. "Monitoring and intelligence are important, but they are not the solution."

In many cases, the use of encryption brings about a sense of carelessness in the workplace, as many people believe they don't need to be as diligent when it is deployed, the news source said. As a result, it is important that decision-makers instill the importance of using document protection tools while simultaneously following a set of best practices.

A separate report by TechMaish said identity management solutions are becoming increasingly important, as they limit access to sensitive assets and reduce the possibility of exposing confidential information. As the private sector moves away from physical paperwork, businesses need to leverage document security tools to ensure data is protected.

Why should employees receive training about safeguarding confidential information?

Companies that store their data online should provide training to employees that shows them how to properly safeguard valuable information. Staff members who recognize the impact of data security will be able to become directly involved in a business' protection efforts. Additionally, workers will be able to perform security system assessments and offer input that could help a company avoid the dangers commonly presented by hackers and viruses.

Consider the following tips to help workers learn how to properly protect confidential information.

1. Establish data protection regulations
Make a handbook that explains the dangers of insufficient data protection. A company's confidential information could easily fall into the wrong hands and cause significant damage to the business and its employees, so be sure to incorporate this message into these documents.

Additionally, create data protection rules to help employees safeguard their personal information. Businesses can encourage their team members to use portable document format (PDF) files when they develop or share materials. With PDFs, companies can enjoy a variety of document protection options, including the ability to modify and revoke reader access.

2. Respond to concerns and questions
Employees could have queries about how a company manages data protection, and a designated professional or department can help respond to these concerns and questions. Lend a helping hand to workers who need assistance safeguarding their personal information, and if you cannot, find an expert who can answer employees' requests.

Companies should encourage workers to offer their insights and views about data security. This information is valuable and could help businesses improve the systems they use to protect data.

3. Use a variety of mediums
Teach workers about data protection using a variety of media such as online tutorials and videos. Employees need to understand the importance of data security, so devote the resources and time necessary to make sure they know how to safeguard confidential information.

Periodic assessments and reviews are also helpful, as these evaluations allow managers to see if employees have learned from the educational materials. Companies can also alter their tutorials if they find that workers fail to recognize the importance of the information.

SMBs need security help

As the private sector continues to adopt a paperless work style, decision-makers need to leverage document protection tools capable of keeping mission-critical resources safe. Unfortunately, a new study by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec revealed that many small and medium-sized businesses have a false sense of security.

The study, which polled more than 1,000 U.S. SMBs, found that 77 percent of respondents believe their organization is safe from experiencing a data breach, even though 83 percent of firms have no formal policy to mitigate risk. Another 59 percent of companies do not even have a contingency plan that could keep operations running in the wake of a security-related incident.

"It's terrifying that the majority of U.S. small businesses believe their information is protected, yet so many do not have the required policies or protection in place to remain safe," said Brian Burch, vice president of American SMB marketing at Symantec.

When it comes to enhancing digital security, organizations should consider leveraging document rights management and other tools that limit the number of individuals capable of accessing and editing mission-critical resources.

SMBs need security help

As the private sector continues to adopt a paperless work style, decision-makers need to leverage document protection tools capable of keeping mission-critical resources safe. Unfortunately, a new study by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec revealed that many small and medium-sized businesses have a false sense of security.

The study, which polled more than 1,000 U.S. SMBs, found that 77 percent of respondents believe their organization is safe from experiencing a data breach, even though 83 percent of firms have no formal policy to mitigate risk. Another 59 percent of companies do not even have a contingency plan that could keep operations running in the wake of a security-related incident.

"It's terrifying that the majority of U.S. small businesses believe their information is protected, yet so many do not have the required policies or protection in place to remain safe," said Brian Burch, vice president of American SMB marketing at Symantec.

When it comes to enhancing digital security, organizations should consider leveraging document rights management and other tools that limit the number of individuals capable of accessing and editing mission-critical resources.

SMBs need to prioritize security in the cloud

Companies around the world are leveraging cloud computing services to make mission-critical resources more accessible to users, regardless of location. While enterprises are embracing the cloud at full speed, small and medium-sized businesses are a little more hesitant, as they are not as confident in the cloud's document protection capabilities, according to a report by MYOB.

"The concerns around security of business data in the cloud are understandable when they come from fear of the unknown," said Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB.

For this reason, Reed suggested SMB decision-makers speak with cloud service providers to ensure the hosted service has robust information and document security tools to keep sensitive assets protected. This should be a priority for all organizations, not just small firms, as jeopardizing mission-critical resources can lead to fines or worse.

Businesses should consider leveraging document rights management tools and other access control solutions to guarantee that only authorized individuals have the ability to view confidential records. This will be important in the coming years, as the private sector grows more competitive and companies look for any way – including theft – to get a leg up on rival firms.

SMBs, enterprises experience same security issues

Small and medium-sized businesses face the same digital vulnerabilities as enterprises. Since small firms don't have the same budgets as their larger counterparts, however, SMBs are often more susceptible to exposing sensitive resources. For this reason, decision-makers need to be extra diligent, according to a report by Dark Reading.

"People with the risk management philosophy tend to have an easier time getting the budget they need because of the way that they're presenting the data," said Brady Justice, director of systems engineering for TraceSecurity, according to Dark Reading. "Risk translates to everybody. You don't have to be a technical individual to understand risk."

Implementing robust document protection is an essential aspect of any risk management program. This doesn't need to be complicated, however, as decision-makers should find effective solutions and use them.

A separate report by InfoSec Island said executives should evaluate what their sensitive resources are and deploy additional document security tools in those areas, while maintaining fundamental defensive solutions elsewhere. If SMBs are proactive and diligent, they can be as safe as enterprises that have larger budgets dedicated to protection.

Canadian small businesses need help with security, study says

Small businesses are an essential part of the recovering economy. Regrettably, many smaller firms do not place enough emphasis on document protection programs, leaving mission-critical resources at the mercy of unauthorized individuals.

A new study by Shred-It said small organizations in Canada make up 98 percent of the private sector, yet only 76 percent of them are aware of industry requirements regarding storing and protecting confidential assets. Another 31 percent have never trained employees on document security procedures, suggesting the majority of Canada's businesses are vulnerable.

"Companies of all sizes are tightening their belts, and small businesses in particular may be having difficulty allocating staff and other resources to information security," said Bruce Andrew, vice president of marketing at Shred-it. "However, making information security part of day-to-day operations is a valuable investment that, at the end of the day, protects both the business's reputation and its bottom line."

A separate report by InformationWeek said small companies should begin their document security initiatives by establishing what resources are in their possession. In doing so, decision-makers can place an emphasis on protecting certain assets, keeping highly sensitive information away from unauthorized users.