Processes and Tools for Decreasing Data Theft

According to Domo, Email users send 204,166,667 messages per minute per day.  That’s a lot of data!  And when you consider that over 2.1 billion people now use the Internet, that represents even more information being consumed, transferred and shared online.  Most businesses now utilize social media, electronic documents, and cloud applications and even with the amount of digital data growing at a furious rate; paper files and documents are still being utilized nonetheless.  In short, information exists in multiple formats and is everywhere.  Unfortunately, so too are those who seek to illegally take advantage of the information explosion.

Data breaches over the past year

This past year proved to be a particularly bad year for data breaches.  The largest incident occurred in September when the state of South Carolina revealed a hacking incident which compromised approximately 3.6 million social security numbers.  And, as recently as November, a NASA laptop was stolen.  So it seems that no organization, no matter how small or large, is immune to the threat of data loss.  But that doesn’t mean that businesses should roll over to any potential threat.  Luckily, you can use these incidences as a springboard for implementing processes and tools to help decrease your business’s vulnerability to data theft – it’s all about minimizing risks.

Data in any format is at risk

While the majority of breaches this year involved electronic data, your paper records and files also represent a target for those hoping to steal private and confidential information.  Many businesses feel that they can best protect their hardcopy assets.  It’s as simple as filing critical business files away under lock and key, right?   Well, sort of…  All too often, sensitive documents stored in-house are kept in less than secure areas.  And if someone is looking for credit card information, a banking routing number or social security number, they’ll probably head straight for the filing cabinet, which essentially acts as a beacon.  Furthermore, many organizations retaining seldom accessed archival documents rarely have a handle on their record inventory.   This can lead to the following scenarios:

  • sensitive documents being retained longer than necessary
  • misplaced or lost files
  • undocumented file access
  • unauthorized retrieval

Offsite protection

There should always be a methodical, auditable, and regimented process for the access, retrieval, filing and disposal of business files and documents.  An offsite storage solution can provide the framework for such a process by providing:

  • inventory management
  • user specific security parameters
  • retention scheduling
  • granular audit trail capabilities
  • strict security and protection systems

In a similar manner, electronic data residing on tapes and hard drives should also be protected and preserved in a dedicated media storage environment.  A scheduled plan for the rotation of backup media should be supported by professional pickup, transportation and retrieval to ensure a documented chain of custody at all times.

Ensuring proper disposal

Often the disposal process presents the greatest risk for data theft.  Believe it or not, confidential documents are still thrown away in trash cans and computer hard drives end up in dumpsters.  And even in less egregious instances, files are improperly shredded or are left exposed within busy office environments. Remember that a document that’s no longer useful to you may be extremely useful to an individual committing identity theft.  A professional shredding and destruction company ensures that your business information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands during disposal.

Archives Management Centers provides helps minimize the risk of data theft for businesses throughout Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee County.  For more information, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on the page.