August 03, 2022

Be switched on about data

In 2021, it was estimated that global data breaches cost over staggering £5 trillion to businesses worldwide – a figure that has grown year on year. So, regardless of what your business is, you need to take data and its security seriously.

A breach of any kind can be more than just an embarrassment, it can mean sensitive information getting into the wrong hands, a PR nightmare and a loss of trust by your customers. Then, there’s the financial costs which can include legal fees, fines and auditing services.

Data security breaches have already happened to big business across the UK. Famous examples include high-street favourite Boots being forced to suspend their loyalty card payments after an attempted cyberattack trying to use stolen passwords to compromise customers’ accounts. Another is Virgin Media, who experienced a massive data breach which was thought to have impacted 900,000 customers when personal details on a marketing database were left open for 10 months.

As businesses store an ever-growing amount of sensitive information, the need to ensure its safety and security grows with it. Let’s look at how you can keep your all-important data safe.

What is data security?

Put simply, data security is a means of protecting digital information from unauthorised access, theft or corruption whilst you hold it. The term itself covers all aspects of protecting data, so includes the security of hardware, storage equipment, administrative and access controls and software applications. It even includes your internal security policies, procedures and safeguards.

Done right, it gives complete peace of mind against not just external cyberattacks, but also internal risks and simple human error – which would you believe is one of the leading causes of security breaches.

How does data security work

In order to protect your data you need to install technology and specially designed tools which provide a clear and up-to-date view of where critical data is being held and how it is being used.

This often means using security tools that provide the highest level of protection at all times whilst following all regulatory guidelines. Furthermore, the use of tech and software that provides encryption, data masking, the removal of sensitive files and the streamlining of auditing reports through automation.

Are customers bothered?

This should be a rhetorical question. One that had you shouting “Yes, of course they are!”  Which is why you may not be surprised to know that 75% of consumers say that they will not buy from any business they can’t trust to look after the personal data. This is why you need to be proactive and let customers know the steps you’re taking to safeguard their data.

It pays to get it right

We know how costly it can be to get data security wrong. But what about when you get it right? Well, data is the lifeblood of any modern business and protecting is an ongoing investment. Thankfully, doing it well can pay dividends. It prevents the time and cost of dealing with issues such as complaints and data breaches. On the flip side, taking good care of data can improve efficiencies.

One example is that by deleting data that you no longer need, it become easier to find what you’re looking for and make it more cost-effective to protect what matters to your business.

Effective data security can also help you win contracts as larger organisations will insist on having data protection policies in place. Those with ethical and corporate responsibilities want to work with companies who meet their standards of good practice.

As we’ve seen data security is an essential part of any business, no matter what their size or sector. But, you can’t simply switch it on and forget about it. Rather, it’s a journey where you’re constantly refining and updating your security systems so that you’re always one step ahead of threats and problems, while meeting all relevant rules and regulations.


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