Dashboards and Data Viz | Data Strategy | Tips & Tricks

Protecting your data with secure dashboards

With the rise of Big Data and the Internet of Things, data security is on everyone’s radar. Just because data security is a priority doesn’t mean it has to be a heartache, though. Even businesses with small- to medium-sized data sets should think about protecting their data from potential breaches, such as leaks, hackers, theft, and errant emails. What’s this got to do with your data reporting, you ask? It’s simple: on-premise dashboard software can be built behind your existing firewall for extra security against attacks, and it doesn’t require any additional steps for internal use.

What is a “secure dashboard” and why is it important?Dashboards Protect Data | Prevent data breach with secure dashboards

Data security is paramount; it protects you, your business and your clients. Whether you’re dealing with financial information, passwords, or private information about your customers, data is susceptible to misuse if you don’t safeguard it against malicious attacks.  As you develop protocol for protecting your data, keep these four categories in mind:

  • General data
  • Confidential information
  • Internally shared data
  • Externally shared data

Your security permissions and measures depend on the type of data you’re working with. Confidential data, for example, needs different security measures than general data or information you want to share externally (outside your organization). As for the term “secure dashboard,” this refers to a visual report of data – in any of the four categories discussed above – that is protected by the right security measures. Secure dashboards allow the viewer access to the results and insights from the data, but keep the back-end data protected.

Secure #dashboards keep back-end data protected while still sharing insights. #dataviz Click To Tweet

Basic Data Security: How to password protect Excel spreadsheets

Your data security protocol should involve layers. If your data is in Excel spreadsheets, password protection is an excellent place to start. If you’re looking to secure information in an Excel spreadsheet, setting up a password is pretty simple:

  • Click “Save As,” then select “Tools”
  • Click “General Options”
  • In the “File Sharing” menu, find the “Password” option
  • Re-type the password to confirm it

Depending on the type, timeliness, and amount of data you want to share, setting up password protection might not be enough – and that’s where secure dashboards come in. By using a secure dashboard software like iDashboards, built on an application server such as TomCat, you create an additional layer of security for important and sensitive information. In short, protected spreadsheets are good, but a secure dashboard is even better.

Read next: The Case Against Excel

Using secure public dashboards with TomcatPassword Protect Excel Spreadsheets or Secure Dashboards

Let’s say you have data that needs to be shared with someone outside your organization. You could email it in an Excel spreadsheet, but even if you establish password protection, there’s no telling where that file could end up. If you want to make sure or 2) establish user permissions in a public dashboard. While the first option might seem simple enough, it is far less secure than option two.

Dashboards are meant to be shared and viewed, and designed so that you always have control of who has access to what. In some cases, you want to make your data visualization completely public by using public access license, but you still need to protect the underlying data that supports the dashboard. In other cases, you may want to share your dashboard with only those people to whom you give a password. You can also establish user permissions with iDashboards, so you can carefully choose what information is shared (and what information is not). iDashboards uses Tomcat to ensure that no matter how you choose to display your data, it’s protected.

You don’t have to pay for a good application server. Tomcat is free software, so it has a large pool of users. This means that the forum community is very active, and any bugs with Tomcat are posted and resolved quickly. Tomcat runs iDashboards and is in the server directory of the iDashboards installation.

If you’ve installed iDashboards on your local network, your data is already secure. If you’re using a web license, or have embedded dashboards on a public site, you’ll want to secure it to ensure the site-to-site transfer of data is safe. This way, all traffic goes back to you instead of a third-party. Contact our award-winning support team to discuss the steps you may need to take to secure your data.

Guiding principles for data security and your organization

Hackers | Data security | Password Protection Dashboards

I mean, this hacker is so good, he doesn’t even need to look at the screen. SCARY.

  • Keep an eye out for vulnerabilities. If your IT department can find a weakness in your security policy, hackers will too. Make sure IT has eyes on your data protection strategy and routinely checks it for potential loopholes.
  • Prepare for the worst-case scenario. Chances are, your organization won’t experience a crippling data breach. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready to prevent one, though. It’s important to imagine the worst possible scenario and build you’re security regime backward from there.
  • Know how to respond to breaches. Again, dealing with a data breach isn’t something you encounter every day. If it doesn’t happen, you’ll want to have an appropriate response on the back burner to minimize any damage caused by leaked data, hacking, or other threats.

Are you looking to boost data security for your organization? What methods are you currently using? To start the discussion, comment below or share this article on social media. We’d love to hear from you @iDashboards!

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Jay Nelson Senior Support Engineer @iDashboards

Jay Nelson has been in IT for over 10 years and has been part of iDashboards for the past 3 years. As a Senior Support Engineer, he is extremely passionate about discovering connections to unknown data sources. Outside of iDashboards, Jay is a diehard Detroit Lions fan and loves spending time with his two children.


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