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Privacy by design: Integrating security protocols into your business processes

By Edrian Blasquino | |7 minute read

We live in an era where cyber attacks have become rampant. There is now an urgent need to keep up with their swift pace of evolution to prioritise cyber security in all processes within your organisation.

An excellent way to do that is to integrate security controls into your organisational processes, which essentially builds privacy by design. But first, let’s get into the importance of cyber security in any business.

The importance of cyber security

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Several businesses have placed a growing emphasis on cyber security to protect confidential information. They have adopted tight cyber security measures, including compliance with SOC 2 – a standard for validating the effectiveness of data security practices, including the use of encryption, firewalls, and antivirus software.

Let’s quickly run through the importance of implementing good cyber security practices:

  • Protection of sensitive data: Organisations store all types of confidential information, whether that be trade secrets or customer data. If a cyber attack is successful, then this data can easily be manipulated and stolen by malicious hackers.
  • Prevention of financial loss: Without the implementation of good cyber security practices, then you expose your business to potentially huge financial losses should an attack be successful.
  • Protection against reputational harm: Another reason why organisations must focus on cyber security is the possibility of reputational harm caused by cyber security incidents. The reputation of a business is one of its most valuable assets, which could result in the loss of public trust.

Practical steps for businesses to integrate security protocols

Now, let’s move on to the practical steps that your business should take to integrate security protocols to enhance your privacy:

1. Password management

To keep our data safe from unauthorised access, we use passwords. Encourage your employees to use long and complex passwords, using a combination of alphanumeric characters and symbols.

However, good password management doesn’t end there. Advise them to change their passwords regularly and to never save their passwords on their devices. Also, personal information such as birthdays or names must not be used in passwords to prevent hackers from easily cracking the code.

2. Secure email practices

Emails are excellent gateways for cyber attackers to hatch their devious schemes. They send phishing emails that aim to extract sensitive information, often including credit card details and other personal data.

To stay safe from these attacks, it helps to use encrypted emails. The sender’s email must be verified to ensure that it isn’t from a spoofed address.

Tell-tale signs include inconsistent emails or unexpected changes in communication style. These emails often convey a sense of urgency, luring more victims through manipulative tactics.

Training your employees on phishing awareness and the latest online scams can help prevent the infiltration of attackers into your systems.

3. Establish fraud detection systems

Dedicate resources for the establishment of fraud detection systems. These systems should incorporate advanced algorithms, including rule-based fraud detection, to scrutinise transactions, user behaviours, and patterns indicative of fraudulent activity. This is particularly relevant to business sectors dealing with financial transactions and e-commerce.

4. Install antivirus software

Having an antivirus program on computers is basically a must these days. Besides installing them on all company devices, antivirus software must be updated regularly. As cyber threats continue to evolve, antivirus applications must keep up with the pace and ensure the quick detection of potential threats.

5. Update software regularly

Your updates shouldn’t be limited to antivirus software – expand this practice to operating systems and other applications. The main purpose of software updates is not only to fix bugs but also to fix security loopholes.

6. Perform regular backups

To ensure that your systems stay secure, regularly back up critical data to prevent data loss. Losing critical data can be detrimental to any business – leading to operational disruptions, financial losses, and reputational damage.

Backups can be scheduled to ensure that data is automatically and consistently stored in a secure location.

7. Incident response planning

Should the worst-case scenario of a cyber threat occur, it pays off to do some incident response planning. It involves the identification and categorisation of potential security incidents, the formation of a dedicated response team, and a structured plan for dealing with incidents in cyberspace.

8. Network security measures

Boosting your network security will require you to implement firewalls and intrusion detection systems. This helps monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic. To adapt to evolving cyber threats, regularly review and update network security configurations.

Further, you can encourage the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to secure internet connections, which is especially crucial when you adopt a remote work environment. By doing so, you prevent employees from connecting to potentially unsafe public networks.

VPNs encrypt data transmissions, ascertaining that sensitive information remains secure even when connected to public networks.

9. Multifactor authentication

You might already be using the security feature when using your personal devices, so it’s just as important to practice this in the workplace. Before users gain access to their accounts, they have to know their password and, on top of that, a code sent to a mobile device or email.

Final thoughts

By integrating these security protocols into your business, you shield the organisation from cyber threats. These protocols add layers of security and privacy that can prevent data leaks from turning into financial losses and reputational damage.

Following these steps will ensure that your organisation stays secure and your assets stay protected, even if they continue to evolve by the day.

Edrian Blasquino is a college professor.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.