Every business or organization or country deals with data one way or the other. Data is limitless and is everywhere. How can you protect or secure what is everywhere?

Depends on what data means to you. What is your data? Where is your data?

To a gardener, data may be the number of seeds he has in store for sale or a directory of his customers' phone numbers and more. For a website owner, data may be the number of visitors to her website, how many times a link was shared on social media and more. For a company, it may be that secret formula that makes their product the best in the market.

Your business determines the kind of data you deal with, which data is useful, and which is not. Once you've identified your important information, the need to keep it safe and secure becomes a priority.

In a world where almost everybody is on the internet busy searching for information, the need to keep your data away from unauthorized access becomes increasingly necessary by the day. This security is as important as the data itself.

So how do you protect your data? Here are 5 data security hacks:

1. Know the Data You Have.

You can only secure what you have. There is no way you can ensure the security of what you don't even know you have. You need to identify your data. Know what you have and what you don't--keep records. This will help you to know when something goes missing.

If this is too much work for you or you're having a hard time doing this, engage the services of a Database Administrator (DBA). You can use companies that offer remote DBA services. They will help you put your "data house" in order.

2. Decide What Kind of Protection Is Required.

When you know what you have, you can decide what kind of protection is required.

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software for capacity planning which involves estimating the storage, computer hardware, software and connection infrastructure resources required over some future period of time.

They will help you to know what level of data security your type of data needs. They will tell you if you need to buy a vault that will require finger print authentication or if you need to increase your server's security.

3. Backup.

So what happens if you have all the security in the world for the data on your computer but the computer gets stolen? And you don't have backup? You lose vital information needed for your business. Obvious answer, right?

To ensure the security of your valuable data, you need to have a backup somewhere. It could be something as small as a flash drive, depending on your size of data (though that's not the best option). Could be another copy tucked somewhere safe. Make sure you have backup data and make sure to always keep it updated.

4. Regular Review

You need to continually monitor your data. This can be a lot of work, especially for big organizations but it is necessary for the safety of your precious data. You need to constantly check to make sure it is intact.

It is only through continual monitoring that you can quickly notice when something goes wrong. This helps you to fix the problems even faster which will not cost you as much as when you discover the problem late.

Regular review also includes knowing who has access to your data. Ensure you control their access by frequently changing passwords or storage locations. Always keep an eye open.

5. Physical Security.

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, physical security is the key to safe and confidential computing. The best software cannot stop the loss of your hardware. And because some hardware are very expensive, you cannot afford to keep replacing them after they get stolen or damaged as this will affect your balance sheet in a bad way. You therefore need to keep your equipments as safe as possible.

Invest as much as you can in this area. You can get dogs, security guards, anti-theft securities, tracking devices, and many more.

When you can keep your data safe, your business becomes one of the best in your field. This increases the reputation of your business and increases the number of customers you have. And all these lead to more business and more income.

So there you have it! Some useful tips you can use to keep your data safe. I know some of them sound like a lot of work but in the end I'm sure it will be worth your time.

Published on: Apr 5, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.