How to Implement a Data Protection Strategy: A Guide

April 2, 2022

Did you know the cybersecurity consulting industry is worth $15 billion?

Ensuring data privacy for your business is one of the most prominent challenges organizations face nowadays, but it’s also one of the easiest to implement a plan for. You can’t permanently eliminate the risk of internal or external threats, but you can create a data protection strategy that helps keep everyone involved protected.

Read on to learn how to do precisely that.

Why Is Having a Data Protection Strategy Important?

Having a reliable way to protect the data that your business encounters is essential to building trust with your customers. When you have a solid plan, you demonstrate trustworthiness, transparency, and integrity. Those three components are vital to building a solid rapport with your clientele.

An essential part of creating a strategy is the components needed to ensure its success.

1. Explore Your Business’s Data Map

The first step to developing a data protection strategy is mapping how data travels to and from your business system.

That means determining where your current data exists, who has access to it, and who holds control of that access. You may have one person who handles this data or an entire department, but mapping out the process will simplify your entire data map, meaning consistency on your end.

2. Identify Risks

Once you’ve mapped out your business’s data, the next step is to evaluate potential risks.

As you go through this process, you will likely notice inefficiencies and weaknesses in your overall data structure. Identifying them allows you to understand your system’s vulnerabilities and then take steps to respond to those threats.

This can be done through data loss prevention, tightening up data access management, encryption protocols, and learning to anticipate potential threats.

3. Know Your Priorities

Next, what are your priorities? Look at your company’s weakest links and move those to the top of this list.

Having a decent idea of what your company’s security requirements look like is also essential. This will depend on the sort of data your business stores and processes, which will differ from industry to industry.

Some areas might have regulations you must follow, so it’s essential to conduct thorough research or hire a professional to help you with this step. If you have a legal department, you can also turn to them for help.

4. Start With Privacy

Once you have all the necessary components, you will bring them all together to create your company’s privacy policy. This policy will likely affect your company’s overall objectives, operations, and plans. So it’s vital to ensure it embodies the voice and culture your company aims to have.

A few basic things you should include are:

  • Basic data privacy principles
  • Common procedures
  • Definition of roles and their different responsibilities

How your company goes about these procedures will depend on its day-to-day tasks, but it should at least include some standard practices that your employees regularly carry out.

5. Get Organized

Separating sensitive data into different tiers within your digital infrastructure is a great way to start creating your privacy policy. This can help you optimize some processes based on security clearance or urgency. It’s wise to figure out which data poses the highest risk for mishandling and then work your way down to organize it.

It’s also crucial to figure out which teams are going to have access to the most sensitive data as soon as possible so they can be educated on the process and also so they can be given a chance to help create the process. This isn’t essential, but it’s something you might find effective throughout the creation process.

6. Initiate Data Protection

Once you know the parties involved in your data protection plan, the next step is educating them on the plan itself.

You can hire or appoint an internal team to educate staff or bring in an outside professional to get the job done for you. While most of your employees will only need an understanding of the basics, some teams like your IT staff, cyber security team, legal, HR, and auditors will need specialist training that might be best suited for an expert.

7. Monitoring and Compliance

Once you have your data protection strategy in place, it’s time to take steps to ensure that your data remains protected. That means continuous monitoring for compliance risks and chances of improvement.

If your business carries out annual risk assessments, including data privacy in this plan is a great idea. Continuous monitoring is essential for ensuring internal and external compliance, and it helps you remain trustworthy in the eye of your clients.

This can be done through an occasional re-evaluation of who has access to sensitive data and regular security checks to ensure no holes are left unplugged.

Ready to Implement Your Own Data Protection Strategy?

Now that we’ve walked you through the process, are you ready to build your data protection strategy? However, ensuring you have the best technology at your disposal is essential. That’s where we come in.

At Hemi IT Solutions, our biggest priority is helping you stay connected and productive throughout the workday; that effort shows in every step of our process.

Let Hemi IT Solutions help you set up a Data Protection Strategy!