Critical data is any information that is vitally important to the smooth running of any business around the world.

It is paramount to all businesses that critical data elements are not compromised in any way. If any data is misused, then a business is at high risk of legal implications, losing money which could mean going bankrupt. In some cases, a data breach could even lead to closure.

It is of paramount importance that all businesses, large or small, fully protect their customer data. A lot of businesses are behind the times when protecting their critical data elements.

Let me show you why it’s important and what’s involved in protecting critical data.

Identifying Your Critical Data Elements

1 – Do You Have Data You Need To Secure?

Many businesses will ask: What is critical data? They ask this important question because they are unsure about what data needs protection within their own company.

It may come as a surprise, but many businesses still don’t fully understand which parts of their business need full data protection.

All businesses have critical data elements. These relate to anything to do with employee details such as tax accounts, social security numbers, and names and addresses. All these are part of the payroll data element systems.

Your business must be able to master data management when it comes to your customers. For example, a retailer will deal with credit card numbers for transactions which are very important to protect.

Your business could also be dealing with government ID numbers and the date of birth of your customers and your employees.

It is the responsibility of the business owner to hire a skilled professional to identify critical data elements.

All the right defined systems should be put in place when it comes to the protection of any data processing within your company.

High-level data management executives must carry out checks to establish which systems and methods are being used within your enterprise. An efficient approach to data analysis is something that many organisations forget to do.

If a business fails to identify the right criteria regarding data protection and then implement it in the right way, the company could be at high risk of a cyber-attack.

2 – How Do You Store That Data?

When the critical data elements of your business have been pinpointed, you need to work out the best ways to store it.

A business owner would need to employ a skilled person to become their Information Systems Manager (ISM), which is above the Data Storage Administrator (DSA). These employees are responsible for any critical data element within your company.

Your Information Systems Manager will be able to implement a Technological Profile of your database system. This will show you where your data attributes and critical data are stored. Often this is already fairly secure and sometimes encrypted.

Looking at your company’s Technological Profiles will help you find out the data quality of your business and how secure it is.

Often businesses will need to invest more money in securing their master data stored within the database. Apps and programs are used to find out where your critical data is stored and if it has a high level of protection.

If the security level is not high enough for your critical data element, then these programmes will show that.

3 – How Can You Maximise Data Protection?

All business owners must treat the data element side of their company very seriously. There are a number of data elements within each individual business that all need proper governance.

It is vital that an IT security expert helps you define the critical data and establish which is the most important and follow data governance practices at all times.

The IT expert will need to gain internal access to your company database to be able to determine if your customer data is being protected by the systems you have in place.

If your company isn’t providing the right level of data security, then you must find a better solution as a matter of urgency.

This often means spending money on installing the right applications and doing away with your old, outdated applications. In some cases, the whole network and group function of your database systems need to be changed.

Having a secure data system is all the more important when you provide a shared service, whatever that industry may be. Putting the right security solutions in place is vital when you think about overall product quality.

4 – How Much Of Your Budget Is Allocated To Data Protection?

Making sure the critical data of your company is totally secure will eat into your overall business budget, but it is a critical investment. In the long term, it will be money very well spent and will add value to your business.

It is important that you don’t aim for the lowest price to protect the critical data of your business. Data governance is always evolving, so always make sure you have enough money to allow for system updates.

All company databases must be up to date and in line with the proper security measures to help you fight cyber-crime.

Keeping on track with data governance and identifying CDEs will always help you add value to your organisation and improve revenue in the long term.

Organisations are always trying to find solutions that will help improve their data security process, whatever industry they may be in. It is best to research which security measures are being deemed a success in other companies.Over the years, organisations have lost millions of dollars by not having the right compliance when it comes to data security.

5 – What Data Protection Can You Afford?

Many organisations find it is easier and financially beneficial to hire a skilled data management system virtual assistant. You would have to make sure you identify and define which skills are needed to carry out the role.

As a business owner, you would need to define critical data within your company so that the VA is happy working with the data required by your management team.

When it comes to data protection, your organisation must be willing to pay whatever is required to keep your database systems protected.

The success of your business is heavily reliant on employing the right people who have the required skills in each chosen area. Hiring a VA data specialist is often seen as a good move by many smaller organisations.

All kinds of organisations are realising that hiring a VA to deal with data compliance will improve the internal success of their enterprise in an affordable way.

Figure Out Your Critical Business Processes

All organisations need to comply with data quality rules, but critical data varies. The data quality of your business is important but identifying your critical data is vital.

This is especially important if you are an online retailer, as you have to deal with financial data when it comes to accepting online payment transactions.

When you run an ecommerce business, you are dealing with customers’ highly sensitive data, such as their credit card numbers and home address.

Making sure your security levels are high is vital when running an eCommerce business. There are certain levels of protection when a financial payment is made, but you may want to put in further security measures.

Since every business is different, it’s important to look at all the business processes where sensitive data is involved. You need to fully understand and map out those processes to understand when and where data access and exchange happens to ensure that those paths are secure.

It is important to employ subject matter experts in the specific business area you are working in.

Apply Data Protection Measures To All Processes

Your organisation has many different area definitions, such as human resources, finance department, customer service, and so on. You must make sure that your data protection measures apply to all parts of your enterprise.

For example, your finance and human resources departments deal with employee data while your customer service department deals with customer data.

Spending money on the right security measures for all these processes is important to the defined value and success of your organisation.

Employee data and data required for customer transactions must always be protected at all stages of the process and in compliance with data protection laws.

It should be part of your business policy to focus on protecting your critical data in every single business process. Any data breaches within your enterprise will cause people to lose a high value of trust in your company.

If these details are somehow breached, then it could see you losing revenue, and in the worst case, your business could end up being shut down due to critical data elements being compromised.

Contact Us Today

Many organisations are starting to realise how important data classification is to the smooth running of their company. Business owners are seeking solutions that allow them to be fully data protected and compliant.

And if you’re hiring a VA to take care of this, then you have to make sure they are fully up to date with data governance practices. This is critical when they are working with critical data elements CDEs.

We can help you hire a highly skilled VA who will be fully compliant with the rules when it comes to dealing with critical data elements. Over many years of building teams of VAs for clients, we have built up the expertise to find and recruit the most talented people .

Please get in touch with a member of our team today to find out how quickly we can have you set up with a specialised data VA.