Most successful companies of today, whether enterprises, mid-market or small businesses, are either based online or have a firm presence online. And the reality is, just by conducting any type of business online, any one of these companies can suffer a breach in data security.
Data security is not a complicated process, but it does require diligence and effort. Here are a few tips and best practices you can use to protect your business’ data:
Know what data is sensitive and where it is kept
Identifying sensitive data is the first step to keeping it safe. Any sort of data that provides sales insights, financial information and customer information should be of the highest priority to keep safe. If customers learn that their personal data was mishandled, they will often terminate their contracts with a business. Additional information such as trade secrets and upcoming products and events are also a high priority to keep in a secure state.
Use the most up to date security software
Keeping your anti-virus and anti-malware applications up to date is a tedious task, but it is absolutely essential for keeping data safe from outside intruders that may be looking to access your network. Encryption software should also be used to encrypt all types of sensitive data.
Monitor your wireless network security
Almost every company relies on a wireless network to get online and conduct business. And while it’s great to not have your computer tied down by a cord, wireless networks are popular targets for hackers and cyber criminals.
To protect both your business and your employees, use your router’s strongest available encryption standard, and protect both your router and Wi-Fi access with passwords. Along with stopping random users from stealing your Wi-Fi, passwords can prevent hackers from hijacking account information, files and even consumer financial information. As an added measure, businesses can disable the SSID broadcasting function on the wireless router in order to hide their networks from cyber thieves.
Use spam filters
You know to steer clear of opening email that looks fishy. But unfortunately, spammers are getting a lot more savvy these days, sending emails that looks legitimate but in fact are not. To make sure you don’t fall prey to one of these scams (where bad guys could potentially gain access to your data), be sure to install a rock-solid spam filter on your email system.
Overwrite deleted files
Deleting your information on a computing device rarely means it’s truly deleted permanently. Often, this data still exists on disk and can be recovered by someone who knows what they’re doing (such as, say, a savvy criminal determined to find your personal information). The only way to really ensure that your old data is gone forever is to overwrite it.
Only your most trusted employees and business partners should have access to your customer data. Whether you keep things in a file cabinet, on your computer or in an online tool, make sure as few people as possible have the keys, codes and passwords. And keep a careful inventory of who has access to what. That way, if someone leaves the company, you can quickly change codes and passwords to keep things protected.
Seek out a trusted advisor
Small business owners need a trusted advisor who can help them understand their data security responsibilities, review available solutions and then implement a plan to ensure long-term business protection. Business owners are not alone in protecting their customers’ data. When choosing a company to partner with, be sure the firm places a high priority on data security, can offer guidance and provide the solutions to mitigate the risk.