Are you doing everything you can to keep your work and assets safe? Data security and management issues, whether caused by accident or as a result of a malicious attack, can damage your organisation and your creative team. Read on to learn more about data loss prevention and management, and some straightforward steps you can take to prevent it.
Absolutely – and it’s more important than ever that you do. There a few things to consider as part of that – there are the functional IT requirements around device protection and threat prevention, but before we get on to that let’s discuss your end users and how you can help them avoid lost work.
We’ve all been there – you are about to send your work to a client, which you named “file_final_FINAL_revised_3(1).psd” after some unplanned amends and you realise that you can’t find it! It’s a nightmare, right? And it wastes your time and money trying to fix it. You end up having to recreate everything, and invariably are up against a tight deadline. A study from April 2022 by Web Tribunal actually found that human error is the number one reason for data loss in organisations and is often the result of accidentally deleting information.
Unfortunately, human error will always be a factor that no business can eradicate, but there are plenty of ways to protect yourself without having to erect digital fences that stifle creativity. As we said above, the first thing you do have to do is to implement a no desktop rule. We know it’s sometimes appealing – especially if you’re working on an unstable internet connection and it’s easier to drop it on your local machine with the intention of saving it somewhere centrally at the end of the day. As appealing as it may be, it should be avoided where possible…
As a very easy step to help protect data from being lost forever, make sure that users have access to a desktop hard drive that they can use for emergencies – power cuts, internet outage, working on location in the Outer Hebrides – and that they can back up work to, giving a fallback until they can get connected to a shared network or cloud storage again. You can’t go far wrong with some of the options from the likes of Sandisk, who even have dedicated drives made for extreme environments.
A shared storage solution or cloud-based storage option should be the go-to for any creative team, though. The type of solution you need will vary massively depending on the type of files you are saving, the size of your team, the applications you are running, whether your users are remote or office-based etc. (As an aside, we can help you scope out a solution that will work for you. Just contact us using the form at the bottom and we’ll put you in touch with one of our team.) Regardless of the solution you end up with, the big benefit to this is that your team will always have a centralised, backed up version of their work that, should their own computer run into difficulties, will mean they don’t lose any of their work.
You might not have heard of it, but there are even options such as LucidLink which gives users a cloud-based workflow that streamlines lots of the issues that can come with remote working. It has a real focus on improving the user experience and delivers an on-demand streaming-based setup that is secure and allows your team to work on projects from anywhere without needing to use a VPN to access a central server.
If there’s one thing that really makes a difference to minimising the risk of human error, it’s asset management. With a solid asset library in place that’s managed by a solution such as Extensis Portfolio, you can keep your central storage organised and easily managed. The obvious benefit of this is that everyone can easily find projects they are working on as well as allowing team members to find and pick up work from each other. But it’s also a great way to maintain good version control – by making it easy for users to always be working from the latest version, they’ll be less likely to work on old files and less likely to overwrite something accidentally.
It might sound a tad dramatic when you start talking about ‘attacks’ but it doesn’t need to be scary. However, it is something that should be taken seriously and is an area that many in creative organisations fail to keep up to date on.
For example, did you know that 26% of companies surveyed in 2020 experienced a data breach of some kind? With the average cost being $3.86 million, a security breach can make or break a company. New GDPR legislation that penalises a company in the event of them losing sensitive customer data could make it even more costly – not to mention, you might struggle to regain your clients’ trust after a breach, and that’s just not worth the risk.
Cyber security is more crucial than ever. With 52% of compromised data being a result of hacking and 69% of attacks being performed by outsiders, having strong measures in place to deter and thwart attacks could save your company.
If you’re not sure what sensitive data you are currently storing, remember that it’s not just financial records and personal information that fall into that category. For example, as well as your own team’s personal data, you could be handling customer details for email mailshots, personal addresses, storing photos from photoshoots which are tagged with the names of individuals in them, or even creative briefs that include contact details – all of which are subject to regulation and need to be stored and protected appropriately.
The key thing with all of the above is to minimise data loss, and if you’re not quite sure what that means, we’ve put together another article that covers the definition and some more detail on solutions available. As a recap, essentially it covers security violations in which malicious parties exploit vulnerabilities in IT.
One key step in minimising the chances of data falling into the wrong hands is to manage your end user devices appropriately – this can be done with proper device management. There are a number of options out there such as Jamf Pro for Apple devices or Microsoft Intune for Windows-based devices, or even managed services such as our own Device Management for Mac service that take all the stress away from having to do it yourself, but all of them typically allow you to roll out OS and software updates to your end users from a central location. The big benefit of this is that you can ensure everyone in your network is using the latest and most secure versions. By having computers that are up to date, you’re ensuring that they have any recommended patches that combat security issues, and that the number of security threats and viruses that you are susceptible to is minimised.
The other big benefit of having device management in place is that they often come with remote lock and wipe capabilities – this essentially means that, should your device get stolen, left on a train, or misplaced at the office work party never to be found again, you can lock it down and wipe any data to minimise the chances of anyone being able to log onto it and access anything they shouldn’t be able to.
Once you have device management in place, the next step is to look at endpoint security and data loss prevention software. The two we like to recommend for are solutions by SentinelOne and CoSoSys. Essentially, these give you a level of protection for your data that will, firstly, ensure your end user devices are constantly monitored and any threats are jumped on and easily eradicated no matter where in the world they are, but also that data is protected against outsiders, has the appropriate levels of authentication, and that unauthorised attempts to access data are detected and prevented. In sync they give a full wrap of protection that makes it incredibly difficult for devices or data to be used incorrectly by outsiders.
However you choose to tackle data protection in your business, the key thing to remember is that it can all be done while still delivering a great experience to your end users that doesn’t stifle creativity. So to summarise, there are five steps to consider:
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