31 Oct 2017

Laura Zverko

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Sensitive data is a critical asset that needs to be protected by businesses in the alternative investment industry. The damage that could result, reputationally and in real cost terms, from a data breach or a loss of customer information could have a negative impact right across the firm. The most effective approach to protecting customer information is one that is integrated into the business – rather than imposed on top. IT infrastructure and internal processes and policies have a significant role to play in keeping data secure.

A data protection officer

Designating the role of data protection officer to one person within the business is one of the new requirements coming in under the GDPR. It introduces, for the first time, the idea that there should be someone in-house with a deep knowledge of data protection and how to ensure compliance. This is a role that should contribute heavily towards enabling businesses to protect customer information better.

Data protection policies

Often, the weakest security link in an organisation is its workforce. It is all too easy to share data or open emails or links that could lead to a security breach and consequent data loss. So, for many businesses, the first place to start when it comes to data protection is with solid data protection policies that have been thoroughly explained to staff – including the consequences for individuals of a breach.

Restricted access

Given that it is often the people in it that make an organisation the most vulnerable, it makes a lot of sense to restrict access to information to specific individuals. Restricted access ensures that only those who need to see certain information can access it. Security can be customised to suit team structures and translated throughout any virtual infrastructure, such as the cloud.

Backing up data

Regular data back ups guarantee access to information should the worst occur, ensuring that access cannot be held for ransom. Where data is regularly backed up there is also business continuity so critical time is not lost waiting for access to essential information that has been compromised. In the alternative investment industry backing up data should be integrated into the IT infrastructure of the business, as opposed to left to individuals to manage.

Information security

There are multiple ways to protect information that is stored within a business and the more sensitive that data is, the better that safeguard needs to be. At a basic level, passwords provide solid protection as long as they are sufficiently complex and changed regularly. One step up from passwords is data encryption – this is a way of making information unreadable by converting it into cipher text. Anyone trying to read encrypted text must have the code or key to unlock it so this is a very effective way to control who sees the most confidential data.

Information security evolves at a fairly fast pace, particularly in the finance industry. It is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ but an essential component of IT infrastructure that can help to prevent serious damage.

netConsult specialize in working with the alternative investment industry and SMEs to provide bespoke IT solutions that promote maximum efficiency when working, greater uptime and the highest levels of customer data protection. Call our team on 020 7100 3310 to find out how we could help your business.

Author: Laura Zverko - Follow us on Google+

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