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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
7 tips for protecting your company's proprietary data

Your manufacturing business likely keeps a lot of highly sensitive data on its various networks and systems, and some of that includes the proprietary information that helps make your products unique. As a consequence, you may have to be more proactive about siloing off and protecting that data than you already are about other sensitive details like employee, financial and partner information.

We have a few suggestions for how you should go about this effort:

1) Invest in your security software — and keep it updated

First and foremost, you can't try to go "cheap" when it comes to the antivirus, antimalware and firewall software your company uses to protect its information, according to Effortless HR. No matter the price tag, invest in the programs that fit your needs, and make sure you are always updating them to the latest versions so nothing slips through the cracks.

2) Enable HTTPS

Every device that connects to your network should be set up to automatically connect to websites with an available "https://" prefix, Effortless HR said. You may be used to seeing "http://" before a web address, and the extra S here literally stands for "secure." This ensures that all data transmitted through these sites is encrypted and therefore far more secure.

3) Institute a BYOD policy

One of the biggest risks companies face when it comes to security these days is that their employees and visitors come in with personal smartphones, laptops or tablets on a regular basis, according to Regions. You can't account for what goes on with people's personal devices (nor should you try) so it's better to set a policy about what can and cannot connect to your network.

4) Be aware of the IoT

Your factory no doubt has dozens or more smart devices enabled throughout the facility, from copiers and printers to production machines and more, Regions cautioned. However, these devices often don't have the same level of protection built in that other devices do, so they may be more vulnerable to hacking or data leakage. It's just something to keep in mind as you set up your secure networks.

5) Set a policy for how long you maintain sensitive information

At some point, even the most important sensitive data becomes obsolete as your company continues to grow and evolve, according to Gilmore Services. It's therefore important to have policies in place for how you handle that old information, with an eye toward not just security, but also regulatory compliance.

6) Make sure you allocate for proper data destruction

When the time comes to get rid of that old data, you have to use proper procedures, Gilmore Services advised. Whether that's just deleting old files and making sure they are fully gone, or disposing of old devices so the data they hold cannot be accessed, you can't afford to overlook anything.

7) Train employees for proper handling

Finally, when it comes to all of these issues, your duty is to make sure your employees know what's being asked of them and how they can best achieve it. A little training on this front will go a long way toward protecting proprietary data and other sensitive information.

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