In the 1970’s, a popular nightly news program ended with the words, “It’s 10:00. Do you know where your children are?” This was a reminder to parents to check on their kids, either kids who were old enough to be out and about, or younger children who needed supervision and protection from impending danger. The same could be said now of businesses regarding their data. “It’s 10:00. Do you know where your data is?”
Security in the Data Age
So many businesses today use IT systems to house data, some of which is extremely sensitive, and vulnerable to attack. Concerns over HIPPA and FACTA, two sensitive types of information regulation involving health records of individuals, and credit history, now require that businesses increase their security to make sure it is compliant.
Security is Credibility
Security is also a big part of your business’s credibility in this technology age. People trust your company because you have proven the business is trustworthy, and that it is not vulnerable to attack from outsiders or a potential disaster.
The Threat of Hacking
It is estimated that every day, hundreds of thousands of attempts are made by people in foreign countries, or in our own country, to compromise the data of our military computers. Congress has stepped up security efforts regarding cyber terrorism and cyber crime, just to make sure no serious breach of security can be accomplished by these hackers, which would compromise national security.
It was demonstrated just how easily this can happen in the right circumstances when some cyber criminals broke into the White House computer and posted some information on First Lady, Michelle Obama on social media. Businesses are no less vulnerable, so there needs to be a plan in place to secure your data.
With so much threat for breach of security, what can you do to make sure your data is safe and secure? Here are a few ideas to start with:
1) Check HIPPA and FACTA Compliance Standards
Consider the legal liabilities if information were compromised regarding individuals’ personal medical and health records and/or their credit record. Focus on employee information, but also customer information as this would reflect negatively on the credibility and trust level of your business, if anything were to happen to compromise this data. HIPPA is the regulatory act governing personal medical information and FACTA is the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, which protects individuals’ financial and credit bureau information.
2) SQL Server Integrity Checks
Of utmost importance is that your SQL server is secure from attacks. One way to do this is to run scans of your server security to make sure the integrity level of your server is up-to-date and functioning properly. Attacks on your server where data becomes corrupt or compromised is perhaps the SMB owner’s greatest nightmare. There are tools available to check for the integrity on a regular basis and this should be done with scheduled scans, and random scans.
3) Server Backup
Equally essential in securing important and sensitive data is the issue of backing up data. Perform regular backups of essential data so that it will still be there, should you have to shut down your server for a long period of time, or if a natural disaster occurred. Some businesses opt to secure data on a cloud drive or sky drive, so that it will still exist should a complete rebuilding of the server be required. Not only should this be done for the more obvious security reasons, but also because of the level of difficulty and time it would take to restructure loss data and records in the event of a total loss.
4) Share Point Recovery
Many business rely on Share point as one of their essential business tools of collaboration. Think about what would happen if this information were completely lost. All of the hours it took to create the files would have to be completely restructured and redone, which would be nearly impossible, since it involved so many people and their artistic or intellectual contributions. So don’t forget to back up important Share point documents and files as well, and have a plan in place to recoup lost data, if it occurs.
5) Coordination of Services
The best thing you can do when you are securing your data is to find a way to coordinate all of your services in one place. Having one company to monitor servers, databases, and other files keeps you from having to call on several resources at once to coordinate your efforts. This also makes things easier in the event of a real disaster, when recovery of data becomes necessary.
No one wants to think bout lost data. But, sooner or later, it is going to happen. Make sure you consider all of the above tips when working on your security plan. Keep data safe and sound where it belongs, with your company. And seek the advice of professionals in the data and server security business. The time to ask yourself this question is now, because at 10:00, it might be too late.
Idera is the creator of leading SQL server software solutions, including SQL server monitoring. Peter Hill is a freelance writer with an interest in software management.