Maintaining Data Systems

Maintainting Data Integrity

Maintaining the integrity of any network requires a variety of considerations including:

  • Data availability
  • Preventing unauthorized access
  • Proper data destruction

Data Availability

Why it is Important

Data availability is important to every company. It signifies making sure network users can access the data they need when they need it to properly do their jobs. This includes preparing for the what-ifs like a natural disaster, Ransomware or other infection, that can hit at any time. Downtime caused by lack of file access is costly to any business. If it happens regularly, it can also affect the company reputation. According to the National Small Business Association, 25% of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster.

  • If a catastrophic event happens, the amount of time it takes to get back up and running is often related to proper planning. Planning includes:
    • Having offsite data backups
    • Creating a disaster recovery plan
    • Practicing recovery implementations
    • Communication
  • Communicating with clients so they know what to expect once disaster strikes is just as important as communicating with staff involved with the recovery process so everyone knows the part they will play if unfortunate circumstances hit.

More Information

To learn more about disaster recovery planning, visit the Business Continuity page or for information about offsite data backups, visit the Cloud Backup Plan Comparison page.

Preventing Unauthorized Access

Preventing Unauthorized Access

Key to Maintaining Data Security

Preventing unauthorized access to a network is key to maintaining the security of that network. From legacy employees to detecting and preventing unauthorized attacks, this is one area where being proactive rather than reactive is worth the investment.

  • A policy should be in place for handling people who are no longer employees. From forwarding email to disabling account access, this policy needs to be clearly defined and shared between departments. This will help prevent former employees from maintaining access they should no longer have, and ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities when it comes to employees leaving the company.
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), operate at the edge of a network like a watchdog. When unauthorized attempts are made to gain access to the network or resources on the network, the IDS alerts those people identified for notifications.
  • Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), also operate at the edge of a network but work to prevent unauthorized access.
  • For the best security results, implement a combination of intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems.
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems can be hardware, software or a combination of both. Many firewalls include both intrusion detection and prevention systems as an option that can be enabled so additional devices are not necessary.

More Information

For more information about the importance of preventing unauthorized access to your network, visit the Securing your Network page.

Proper Data Destruction

Why it is Vital to Maintaining Data Integrity

Proper data destruction means properly destroying drives no longer in use whether due to age or working order. Failing to properly destroy drives puts the security of any network, device and its data at risk because tools exist to help extract data from drives even if they no longer work properly. What can be used to help someone who did not employ a backup and suffers from a crashed drive can also be used by the wrong people to recover sensitive data.

  • Drive destruction, whether for hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid state drives (SSDs) should be destroyed in accordance with NSA, HIPAA and HITECH standards so data can never be recovered from those drives.
  • For hard drives, the process consists of demagnetizing the drives before crushing them.
  • For solid state drives, the process consists of crushing all the chips within the drive.
  • It is also important for drives to be safely stored until they are crushed and that certificates of destruction are received once the process is finished.

More Information

For more information about proper data destruction, visit the Drive Destruction page.