Backup protects your data from user errors or malicious actions of data deletion and it is a must have. However there is another danger in the form of data exposure which comes from users who accidentally or deliberately share confidential or restricted data with unauthorized users. Backup protection is therefore only half the solution and to complete it you need data exposure protection as well.

Data leakage and loss can cause serious problems for businesses from loss of reputation to trouble with the law. To prevent this, data must be protected from all potential forms of compromise.

1.Recognizing and Preventing Data Leakage

Data leakage is a complicated problem for today’s businesses. With a wealth of information being stored in and accessed from remote locations, it’s more important than ever to have security measures in place to prevent data leakage and loss.

2.What Is Data Leakage?

Data leakage is defined as any incident in which confidential information is copied, distributed or viewed outside of its intended location. This unauthorized sharing may be intentional or accidental and involves all manner of sensitive information. One of the most common types of data compromised by leaks is customer information, though confidential business data and intellectual property are also potential targets.

3.What Causes Data Leakage?

The use of mobile devices within companies has exploded in recent years. At least some of your employees probably bring their own devices to the office or use company devices to work out in the field. Data downloaded onto these devices or uploaded into the company cloud is a prime target for compromise. Files may be brought home accidentally or hacked by an outside party at any point during transfer or storage.

Other potential avenues for data leakage include:

  • Email between employees and companies
  • Peer-to-peer data transfer such as instant messaging
  • FTP file uploads
  • Removable media, including CDs, DVDs and flash drives
  • Malware installed by phishing emails or websites
  • Insecure storage of password information

Malicious data leakage may also occur when disgruntled employees compromise sensitive information as a way to “get back” at their employers. Data may be shared online via social media and blogs or distributed using malicious software installed on company computers.

4.Complications From Lost Data

Whether or not it’s shared maliciously, leaked data can have a serious negative impact on your business. Projects such as product development that rely on confidential data can be compromised or sabotaged if that information is picked up by competitors and used to improve their own merchandise.

Every time data is leaked, you lose precious time and money trying to discover the source and put a stop to it. The loss of productivity is compounded by the trust issues that develop within a company when employees are suspected of being at fault for data loss. This breakdown of employer/employee relations puts a strain on company morale and can lead to further problems with communication and efficiency.

However, an even bigger problem may be the loss of brand reputation among customers or clients. If client data gets out, especially information such as addresses and credit card numbers, it creates a breach of trust that consumers won’t forget in a hurry. The result is lost business and a reputation that could haunt your company for years to come.

Legal issues may pop up because of data loss if the party whose information your company leaks decides to sue you for damages. Even if they don’t, leaking data may violate privacy laws and subject your business to litigation from local or federal government agencies.

5.Preventing Leakage and Loss

Implementing an automated monitoring system in the form of online backup, security and compliance software allows you to monitor the activity surrounding all sensitive information within your business network and in the cloud. Automated policies can be put in place to restrict what sharing can and can’t be done with data and by whom.

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Classifying or marking data as sensitive based on its content so it can be tracked and restricted as necessary helps prevent leakage via unintentional copying or distribution. Software that scans, acts on notifications of unauthorized actions and automatically enforces pre-built policies in real time is most helpful.

Employee education is also an important part of the equation. Hold meetings or seminars to explain the policies for collaborations and controls that are being enforced as part of company policies and government regulations. Most of all, make sure that everyone understands the corporate policies regarding the use of sensitive data and the consequences for violating those policies.

By implementing strict security protocols and monitoring data usage, you can greatly reduce the risk of data leakage within your business. This combined with backup gives you 360-degree protection.

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