Five Cybersecurity Best Practices for Data Protection + GDPR Checklist

Five Cybersecurity Best Practices for Data Protection + GDPR Checklist
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There is a growing concern about the rise of cyber attacks, and nobody wants to be the target. The good news is with the right cybersecurity policies, you can significantly minimize the risk and keep your private data safe.

There's even a roadmap for it: The GDPR Checklist that covers all the bases to keep your data as safe as it can be. Some of these tips are not just limited to companies as hackers often target smart home security systems as well. But, before we get into the specifics of the checklist, it's important to talk about cybersecurity and why we need it. 

What's Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the set of procedures and protocols put in place to prevent damage to or theft from computers, networks, or data. To put it more simply, it acts as a fence to protect us from threats on the internet and secures our data. Cybersecurity protects an organization's information systems against attacks by hackers, malware, and other malicious cyber actors by using a wide range of proactive and analytical measures.

However, cybersecurity is not just focused on external threats. Many times, it’s people inside the company that act as internal threats and create cybersecurity incidents. But, what are these internal threats?

Internal Threats

To put it simply, internal cyber security risks come from inside a business. They could be current personnel, former workers, or even third-party suppliers or contractors. Anybody who uses the company computer or has access to business files.

Below are some examples of internal threats:

Theft of Data by Employees

When it comes to the company's tangible assets, employees have extensive access with only trust as a barrier against abuse and theft. This is the most common example of internal threats and opens the door for stealing the company's data stored on the hard drives. They may also copy its contents to a USB drive, publish them publicly, and make copies of them easily available online.

Unauthorized Access

Since the personnel currently have access to the network, they could get into places they shouldn't, whether via a careless coworker who leaves the system signed in or an unsecured room that provides unlimited access to a server.

They may also have, or deliberately get, administrator rights, allowing them to interfere with sensitive tasks like modifying the access permissions of other users or turning off network security mechanisms.


In recent years, more and more hackers have been using phishing and other forms of social engineering to access networks and spread viruses and ransomware. Phishing is a prime cyber attack example that allows hackers to pose a threat from the outside while preying on naive workers. 

By pretending to be colleagues or other reliable individuals, or by offering surprise rewards from popular companies, hackers trick employees into exposing passwords or opening malicious links or files. Once they are inside, network security is easy to breach.

One of the main sources of phishing is using unauthorized software that doesn’t meet GDPR’s security standards. It’s the same story with smart home system manufacturers that don’t consider GDPR standards in software and hardware development.

Hardware Theft

Nowadays, it's not uncommon for workers to take their company laptops and other mobile devices home with them. When employees travel to meet with customers or attend industry events, they take their work devices with them, putting them at risk of theft or manipulation as soon as they leave the protected walls of the office network.

When you need to protect your data from actual theft, encryption is your best bet. Encryption makes it impossible for a thief to read the data stored on a stolen laptop, phone, or USB drive.

The good news is that you can prevent all of these issues by implementing a set of information security policies.

Information Security Policies

To protect the privacy, authenticity, and accessibility of company information and assets, organizations should implement and enforce security policies in information technology. The most important part of any IT security program is developing comprehensive security policies.

By documenting security rules, you're formalizing the security state of your business by defining tasks, delegating authority, and responding to incidents. Here are some of the most common 

Information Security Policies Examples

Here are five vital cybersecurity best practices to follow in any small or large company. They are established policies and protocols that can keep your company safe against cybersecurity incidents.

Acceptable Use Policy

The goal of this policy is to define proper conduct while using business computers. The guidelines are in place for the safety of both the authorized user and the business. The company might be at risk from things like malware attacks, server and service compromises, and lawsuits if employees use the system inappropriately.

Access control Policy

Establishing, recording, reviewing, and making changes to who has access to what in your business are all aspects of an access control policy (ACP). In an ACP, you need an established structure to specify which users have access to which resources. To ensure that users only have the permissions they need to do their specific tasks, it's better to offer the minimum required privilege.

Clean Desk Policy

A "clean desk" policy is based on the notion that sensitive information should not be left out in the open where it might be seen by members, service staff, or thieves. It's a great motivator for keeping things organized at work. Confidential information must always be handled carefully to avoid disclosure.

Security Awareness and Training Policy

The purpose of this policy is to educate employees and clients about the status of cybersecurity in tech company operations and policy security measures and to clarify their importance. The policy also specifies who is in charge of developing and updating the training. The staff needs training to identify any system or IT changes that could jeopardize the company's safety.

The policy covers topics such as staff duty regarding computer security, email and web access restrictions, and workstation maintenance. During security awareness training, employees learn to recognize social engineering techniques, reduce system downtime, and protect sensitive company data.

Incident Response Policy

The incident response policy is one of the most important security policies in system information. It describes the steps a company will take in case of a breach in information security. Because of its unique focus on post-incident procedures, you need to document and share this policy with a tone and clarity that's easy to understand for people at all levels.

In this document, you need to talk about the incident response team, the people responsible for reviewing the policy, the members of the team and their specific duties, as well as the methods, tools, and resources utilized to detect and restore lost or stolen data.

What is GDPR?

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a significant reform to data regulations. The GDPR will change how businesses throughout the world handle data protection for their clients and other external parties. The goal is to give citizens of the EU and UK more information about their personal data. Plus, it consolidates the data protection laws of all EU member states into a single, contemporary framework that is compatible with EU directives. 

How to Be GDPR Compliant

You can use this GDPR checklist to evaluate your organization's existing security measures and approaches to data processing, and then cover any holes you find. Let's get to it and help your company become compliant with GDPR.

Offer Employee Training

A common weak point in cybersecurity is human error. It doesn’t matter if it's from the employees at your office or unknowing family members who have access to the smart home security system.

Therefore, you and your staff must have a solid foundation in data security knowledge and training. 

Make sure every member of staff is familiar with GDPR standards, possible cybersecurity incidents, private data leakage protection, and the repercussions of non-compliance in order to reduce the chances of hacking and violations. 

By providing ongoing training, you can make sure your staff is aware of data processing best practices. You should think about upgrading training materials often because a new threat is always around the corner. In addition to discussing potential incident response situations with your team, it is also crucial to show them specific examples of data breaches.

Monitor the Data Flow Closely

Businesses using cloud computing must monitor the flow of client information into and out of the company to guarantee cloud infrastructure security. Keeping such records for all data helps organizations comply with the GDPR's responsibility principle, which requires them to show how they meet the data protection standards. 

Create a unified document that is regularly updated to reflect their current data management procedures. If a customer's personal information is incorrect, they must be notified so that they may make the necessary changes.

Get Explicit Consent

In order to establish a legal basis for processing personal data, an organization must have clear evidence that it has fairly obtained data usage rights from the users.

Simply put, you must use plain English to educate data subjects about using their data and their rights to data privacy under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is often done by publishing privacy policies on the company's website.

You can neither deceive nor pressure users into giving permission, and you must not omit information that would allow them to exercise their rights, such as the ability to object to data usage.

Develop a Real-time Response Strategy

Although preventing cyber assaults and unauthorized access is crucial, it is unrealistic to assume that all attempts will be stopped. Protecting your servers and devices against data breaches and attacks requires a strategy that will respond to threats in real-time and block access to services or devices instantly. One way to speed up both detection and response is to implement a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system.

Bring a Data Protection Officer (DPO) in Your Team

To become compliant with GDPR, you need to hire a dedicated Data Protection Officer (DPO) who can oversee data security measures and assess data flow across the organization. According to GDPR, DPOs are mandatory for organizations that handle "special" data categories, monitor vast amounts of data subjects, or work within the public sector.

However, if your business does not meet any of these criteria, it is still strongly advised that you hire a Data Protection Officer. Someone with this level of expertise is needed so that your company's data processing can be evaluated and correct policies can be implemented within your staff.

Protect Children Data

Consider implementing checks and balances to confirm users are at least 18 years old and get consent from parents or legal guardians before allowing them to handle data related to minors. If your cloud-based company provides services to children as part of the information society, you must first get their parents' or legal guardians' approval.

Monitor & Adjust Policies

Even if policies and processes are created and safeguards are put in place to meet the privacy standards of GDPR, this can't guarantee that you comply with GDPR forever. It's possible that over time, business procedures, technologies, and people's responsibilities will all change. All rules, processes, and controls should be evaluated regularly and revised to guarantee continuous compliance.


What companies are more in danger of cybersecurity incidents?

You might presume that larger organizations with more terminals are at greater risk. Or, corporations in the healthcare or finance sectors, for example, would be obvious targets because of the important data they collect. Although they do store a huge amount of data, attempting to steal from them is like attempting to loot the Federal Reserve Bank's gold vault.

Big companies have the tools and laws to defend themselves. It’s the smaller ones that need to worry more about cybersecurity threats.

What’s a major cybersecurity challenge for companies?

One of the most pressing problems today is keeping employees and management up-to-date on cybersecurity training and the latest threats.

Typically, hackers launch cyberattacks after gaining access to a user ID and password. Hackers often use deception to get sensitive information from their targets. Once a hacker has gained access to a system, all they have to do is wait for the right moment to launch a very successful assault.

Why is GDPR so important?

It offers a clear set of rules that companies must follow to protect personal data and prove that they continue to protect them. It’s also a unified, global framework that prevents inconsistencies across companies in different countries.

How important is software in GDPR compliance?

One of the biggest sources of cybersecurity incidents is using software that cannot meet GDPR’s security standards. This is somewhat common in ready-made software as GDPR protocols and criteria change over time, making it hard, if not impossible to keep up with the changes. 

On the other hand, custom software does not have this issue because it has the flexibility to change based on any developments in GDPR rules or even your company operations. It’s also cheaper than ready-made software. You can contact the LANARS team to get a quote.