Organizations of all sizes struggle to gain a competitive edge no matter the type of industry. Whether it is a process improvement, a product enhancement or a new recipe, businesses seek to protect their intellectual property and maximize any advantage they’ve gained. Unfortunately, with more data communicated and stored digitally, organizations risk a breach now more than ever.
Historically, companies relied on the strength of their physical security – an impregnable building, a locked office, a secure safe. Now, however, employees can access data remotely, departments store shared data digitally and communication platforms can include messages, attachments, links and keys. Organizations must work diligently to develop cybersecurity protocols to secure their data and protect intellectual property.
While every organization faces unique challenges, there are several tips that can strengthen data security, including:
- Clearly define what you are protecting: It is not uncommon for business owners to define their security needs in broad terms. First things first, though, it is wise to clearly define the designs, innovations, formulas or new products that must be protected. This can include elements such as beta testing results, employee training documents and other internal documentation.
- Limit users and control access: The more people who have access to secure information, the more chances there are at a data breach. Companies can take numerous steps to limit access to private data. From rotating passwords to two-factor authentication, organizations can encourage employee security.
- Ongoing employee training: Unfortunately, even with strict security protocols in place, human error can contribute to destructive data breaches. It is crucial that employees understand what is being protected, what is at risk if security is breached and what security methods are in place. Additionally, it is wise to back up this training with non-disclosure agreements, IP agreements and non-compete clauses.
No matter what security methods you have employed, it is wise to regularly examine them to ensure effectiveness. If you have deployed monitoring software, for example, and a glitch exposes it to cyberattack, it is wise to shift to a new program. Similarly, employee training should be revised to include new methods, new statistics and new challenges as they appear.