It’s that time of year again – Spring cleaning! With that in mind, you and your firm should be thinking about all of the “dirty data” you’re storing. Below are some tips to help with your spring cleaning process, whether you are looking to tighten up your personal security situation or aiming to stay on top of enterprise-wide security concerns for the sake of your business.
Common signs of poor data hygiene:
Missing or misspelled information
The most vital asset a business controls is its information. When this sensitive information gets into the wrong hands, it can cause serious damage to a firm’s business operations and reputation. If you can think of some sort of data you have that resonates with one of the above, it’s time to get cleaning.
Refresh your passwords. At least every 90 days, we recommend changing your network, system and application passwords to prevent intruders from gaining unauthorized access. Be sure to avoid using personal information in your password, ensure that your passwords vary across different platforms, and keep the password complex.
Get rid of forgotten/duplicate data. This includes old reports, archived emails, outdated customer information stored on devices like flash drives, scanners, printers, etc. Getting rid of duplicate data is essential because backup files can be misplaced and left behind, leaving hackers with additional access points into your network. We are just about a week away from the EU's new regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) so it's a good idea to start thinking about cleaning up your "dirty data", i.e old contact information and duplicate contacts.
Install program updates. Updates include critical security patches that combat ever-morphing computer viruses. Outdated systems are dangerous yet all systems can become dangerous if left unpatched. That’s why we recommend looking at a patch management service.
The risks of dirty data
The threat is clear: having dirty data in your environment can make your firm vulnerable to attacks. And not fully understanding the data your company possesses can lead to challenging circumstances if information is corrupted or stolen. If a data breach occurs, your lack of knowledge relative to the existence of the data is not an acceptable excuse – or a remediation to the problem.
When it comes to data, the more you have the more vulnerable you are. And the more vulnerable you are, the more vulnerable your data is to hackers. Hackers can easily obtain information on forgotten devices or from forgotten email archives or can access, send and delete communications at will, potentially intercepting company sensitive material, financial data or personal details they can use to further infiltrate your network, and even get financial information.