Data has always been an important component of businesses and as we progress into the digital age, it has become vital that your data is available on demand. For the smooth operation of your business you should be able to get relevant data when and where you need it.
The accessibility of the data has to be tempered with an understanding of some basic things such as what the data actually is, whether or not the data is of a sensitive nature, the people who have access to the stated data, and more importantly, where the data is located at any one point in time.
Firstly, you need to understand what the data comprises of. The term data can seem a bit obscure. You might imagine it to be some technical database that consists of scientific information that only the IT department would be able to parse. The truth is this data refers to any information that the business has that it utilizes. This can range from email data, general files, documents in word or excel format to financial records.
Then, you need to understand whether the information you are working with is of sensitive nature. This can mean many things. Is the information on hand containing proprietary business secrets? Financial information that you do not wish to share outside a select few? Or maybe it’s just information that refers to internal matters that non employees should not be privy to. Whatever your reasons, sensitive data is information that you wish to keep private and limited to a group of your choosing.
Once you have established what data is sensitive, you need to know what users have access to what data. Depending on how sensitive the data is, and the necessity for access, you will have to assign security levels to your data to prevent abuse of the information or leaking it. A good example of this being implemented is the group security levels in Active directory. In addition, you must practice basic data security measures like encrypting your data, using hard to guess passwords, keeping your security software up to date, restricting the use of removable media, keeping track of devices etc. You also need to make sure the weakest spot in any security, the human element, is also taken care of through education.
Finally, you need to have a basic understanding of where your data is located. Nowadays, data can be stored on site or through the cloud. On site can mean the data is stored at the business site on servers and workstations or even on employee’s laptops. Cloud based data storage is when it is stored online on a third party server like through OneDrive, Google or Dropbox.
Both methods of data storage have their benefits and disadvantages. Once you have considered all these factors, you are in a better position to making your data available.