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Tips to keep your business data safe

Tips to Keep Your Business Data Safe

Reading time: 4 minutes
Take a moment and think about an average work activity. You log in to your computer, download a document, print it, close the document, and move on to the next task.
Simple? Yes. Protected? Maybe not.
While secure servers and traditional security software offer a high level of information protection, data still has a way of hiding in the nooks and crannies of your business tech where these solutions might not reach. Let’s take a look at where your sensitive data might be hiding out, and how you can protect it.

Hiding under your finger

Did you use biometrics—such as a fingerprint or face scan—to unlock your PC? Biometric security is an increasingly common feature in business tech, thanks in part to Windows 10’s native support. [1,2] But while it is a sensible step up from passwords in terms of security, biometrics isn’t perfect. The problem occurs when biometric data is stored on an unprotected internet-connected hard drive or server. If an unauthorized user can access either of these they not only gain access to your sensitive data, they’ll have your biometric data on record too.
To protect your data—biometric and otherwise—invest in a device with hardened security, such as an HP Elite PC. These devices store biometric data on a separate, isolated hard drive to ensure that hacking data within the operating system cannot compromise the authentication result. [3] Consider also adding a password to your biometric security for even more protection: a process known as multi-factor authentication.

Hiding in the cloud

Where do you store your files and documents? Do they reside on a secure business server, or is a portion stored on a consumer cloud platform like Google Drive? Sensitive information is often shared over consumer cloud platforms for ease of access outside the office or when sharing files with third parties. This method of sharing files is known as shadow IT, and it can greatly increase the likelihood of sensitive data being lost or stolen since the platform and/or devices used to move this data are often unsecured.
The solution? Start with data protection education. If employees aren't aware of the dangers of using shadow IT practices, they’re putting their business at risk every time they upload or access documents outside of the office. Consider inviting a local security expert to speak at your office, or create a presentation for the next all-staff meeting. In addition, provide employees with secure file sharing alternatives, such as Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox Business, as well as a secure mobile business PC they can use to work offsite or after hours.

Hiding in—or on—the printer

Modern printers are more like PCs than office accessories, with internet connections and built-in hard drives where information on printed documents may be stored. Hackers already target printers, and in some cases have even used printer hard drives to host malicious code.[4] The threats aren’t all high-tech either—it’s easy for someone to come across a sensitive document sitting in the print tray.
The solution lies in the software. With the right programs and capabilities, a printer can offer as much security as you expect from a business PC. For example, HP JetIntelligence constantly checks for intrusions or errors and will reboot a printer in the event of either. Additionally, HP JetAdvantage Private Print allows users to hold a print job until they authenticate at the printer—keeping sensitive documents safe from prying eyes.
Working with older printers? As a short-term solution, you can access your printer’s hard drive through your server or router and manually clear any sensitive information, such as print history or extant backups.

Hiding in the trash

Security risks don’t only affect digital information; the physical aspects of your data—such as devices or printed documents—are also vulnerable to theft. Be sure to shred vital documents or lock them up when no longer needed. Additionally, physically secure your devices when not in use by locking PCs to desks and removing any unused devices to a secure location. For additional control outside the office, solutions such as HP TouchPoint Manager make it easy to track, lock, and remotely wipe devices when they go missing.
With so many new devices and working models, it’s easy to lose track of where your data resides. But arming your business with the right information, tools, and practices makes it simple to bring that hidden data into light—and out of malicious hands.
Google Drive and Google for Work are trademarks of Google Inc.
Microsoft, Windows, and OneDrive are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
Dropbox and the Dropbox logo are trademarks of Dropbox, Inc.

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