Data Security in Facility Management: Best Practices to Follow
Facility management requires smart tools and solutions to manage huge chunks of data. This data can be analysed and leveraged to improve efficiency and productivity of operations within the facility and serve as a crucial driver in formulating successful strategies. Therefore, data handling and security are springing up as quintessential elements of facility management.
Organisations usually have multiple software and programs handling data automatically and even protecting it to some extent but the recent increase in database sizes and information overload has posed a serious challenge. In a recent report, 66% of facility managers consider cyber security as a top challenge in data security and handling. Therefore, facility management team needs to adopt cutting edge data security practices that ensures that the data is not compromised or breached or even eyed by the persistent hackers hiding behind their devices.
Enlisted are some of the best practices for data security in facility management that can help facility managers avoid unnecessary data losses or breaches and ensure complete protection at all times.
Ensure Secured Data Collection
When it comes to facility management, little details matter because those seemingly little issues can lead to mishaps and often to irreversible damage. This is why when we talk of data security, starting from the first step is crucial and ideal for ensuring complete protection of information.
It is considered a novel practice amongst facility management teams to start protecting data from the moment they are procured. This involves close inspection and evaluation of the ways and methods used to procure or collect data. For example, when dealing with manufacturing inventory, the facility managers need to understand how the inventory data is being gathered and where it is stored. This also means identifying the key touch points where data enters the system and where it can be altered. This will help build an integrated outlook of the data related to various equipment and processes and help the management in setting up extra layer of security in possible key touch points which can be used by attackers to breach into systems.
Fortunately, the data collection step can be made extra safe by deploying IoT technologies that can automate most of the processes and enhanced surveillance systems which can make the lives of facility managers easier by electronic monitoring and safeguarding.
Classify the Data Diligently
The data comes in all forms and sizes and can vary depending on the functions associated with it. If left unclassified, this data can lead to a chaotic database, leading to delays in finding relevant information anytime but also puts the crucial data at huge risk. If the facility management is not labelling and sorting data, it is bound to cause trouble in the future for any organisation.
In order to quickly find data and also form a structured security strategy, classification and sorting of data is considered as one of the best practices to follow. Fortunately, facility managers do not have to do this manually as there are a number of third-party applications that allow easy tagging and sorting of various kinds of data by coupling them with digital signatures for smooth access. Data classification makes data discovery pretty easy and simple for users, making the database all the more useful. This way companies can also ensure that sensitive data is being handled by upper tiers and is not easily available to the surface-level users.
Control Access by all Means
All the organisations have certain sections of data that need to be protected. This information could range from product details to the personal details of staff to the technical aspects of operations. While not all data may require strict supervision, such information needs to be prioritised and protected at all costs for the smooth running of organisations.
One way to ensure that sensitive data is always protected and out of reach from common access is by introducing controls over who can view, edit or share certain bits of data and information. This can be done by putting strict firewalls around sensitive data and allowing only specific individuals to access it by using protection technologies like facial recognition, special access keys and passwords or user-specific controlled access.
For example, the interns or first level employees do not want the specifics of machine manufacturing details while the same data is essential for the analytical team trying to track efficiency of operations. Controlling access, thus, prevents the lower-tier users and employees from drowning into unnecessary data and details, saving their time and effort.
Encryption is the Key
Data hackers can enter the systems from any weak points gaining access to a truckload of information, both personal and professional in no time at all. What if there is a way to protect data leak? There is one called end-to-end encryption that encrypts the information and allows the data to be accessed only after decrypting it. Many leading financial and government institutions have been using it for decades and for the right reasons.
Encrypting the sensitive data of any organisation is one of the best practices that can genuinely minimise the repercussions in cases of hacking and cybercrime. Data encryption comes with its own set of challenges like an overwhelming process for decrypting it in times of need and the lack of decrypting keys in certain devices but nonetheless, it is one of the best ways to protect confidential information and hide the real data in case of cyberattacks. With 50% of organisations using data encryption strategy for securing their data, it comes as a relief that this practice is being considered and followed religiously by companies around the globe.
Adopt Cloud-Based Servers and Software
Cloud technology is not something new to the enterprises and organisations around the world. Apart from the giants like Microsoft and Google, this hidden storage space is being leveraged by almost all kinds and scales of businesses. The reason that the cloud-powered programs gained so much popularity is not just the vast space available to store data but also the security that comes with shifting to cloud technology.
While the traditional ways included securing data and transferring information on local servers and networks, emergence of cloud has made a huge impact bringing about a revolution in data security. Unlike the local servers, cloud-backed software stores data in the digital space that is accessible to authorised people from any place, as and when they require. With strict protocols and safety guidelines, the cloud is truly the safest haven that facility managers can find for safeguarding and securing all kinds of data.
Rely on Multi-Faceted Backup
Storing data is a crucial factor in maintaining productivity of businesses and therefore, companies are intent on not just storing large amounts of data but also using it for the growth of operations within the organisation and producing better ROI in the long run. However, most facility managers would agree that it is certainly considered a “disaster” if the company loses a small amount of crucial data.
Data loss in cases of emergencies like system failures or breaches into the servers can be easily mitigated by having backup resources in place. Nowadays even the calls and chats in social media platforms are backed up into secret vaults making it a common practice amongst all leading businesses and industries. One tip that can come off as a saviour for data security is using multi-faceted backup or multi-location backup meaning that data gets distributed and is backed-up at two or more servers or systems depending on the size and type of data concerned. This renders extra protection because even if one back-up source fails in the worst-case situations, the data remains safe at the other sites. That said, most organisations now rely on cloud for backups of their data and it is also preferred that the data back-up occurs every week, at the least.
Educate Employees about Cybercrime
While companies invest in high-end security technologies and gadgets to keep their data safe, it is paramount that they train employees well. The employees or the basic user entering the data and viewing it can make a huge difference because the right ways can ensure greater protection.
Setting strong passwords for authentication, using facial recognition access and dealing with networks is something that needs to be taught to the staff at the ground level. When the users fail to follow best practices for data security, data breaches become an ongoing affair. For example, 92% of malware enters through mail and the employees need to be trained for identifying basic ways used by hackers to get into their servers like email phishing and scams. They need to know which sites to use from local servers as entering certain suspicious networks can jeopardize the integrity of data. Working on these factors at the root level can certainly produce a huge impact on security and ensure that data is not compromised by following inappropriate data handling methods.