Information is key in today’s business world. Not just having it, but protecting it from those on the inside of an organization, and those on the outside looking to compromise or destroy your business. Hacks into some of the world’s largest retail organizations in the last few months, and the theft of critical data should drive home just how important this is to a business. Here are five key tips to help you keep your data safe.

1. Do an inventory check of your data

Just like you’d do an inventory on physical goods, you should do the same for your data. Know what and where your most sensitive data is. Know EXACTLY who the key people are who need access to it, and who does not. Know how they use this data. These are the key questions that need answers in order to protect it.

2. Implement access control policies

Chances are, you already have tools in place such as a firewall, OS authentications, identity access tools, and more to control who sees what. Just make sure you are using all of them. Take the next step and segment trusted users from those who are not based upon their roles.

3. Implement a data policy

Secure data is a result of a good data policy. Nothing can take the place of planning, including data access tools.

4. Implement data encryption

Yes, it can be on the expensive side, but data encryption is vital for documents that are sensitive in nature. With the advent of advanced technology, the risks associated with it multiply. No organization today is completely safe from a security breach, including the federal government. If the unthinkable happens, encrypted data is another layer of defense that will keep data safe from thieves, and those within an organization with ulterior motives.

If cost is a concern, decide where and what your most sensitive data is, and encrypt only that portion. But do not overlook the important of data encryption.

5. Use DLP technology

DLP technology or digital light processing, is used in many applications, including security. There are many technology vendors that are offering solutions for protecting data in all states using DLP. These states include rest, or storage, in motion, or being transmitted, and when in use. This DLP technology can be centrally managed from a single outlet, making it one of the best solutions in terms of cost.

There is really no excuse for accidental data loss, or a breach in security with the technology that is readily available today. A relatively small investment in security can pay off large in the future. Recovering from a data breach will always be much more expensive than proactive security measures. A data breach can also cost you dearly in terms of public perception. You simply cannot afford to not take measures to protect your data.