Cybercrooks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and if they can breach major corporations like Target and Home Depot, they’re likely able to get to your business as well. Protecting consumer data can insulate your brand and business from consumer mistrust and drops in sales that result from data breaches. Safeguarding your data is also important in the case of natural disasters, hard drive failures and even human error when you need to recover lost or damaged data. Moreover, it’s important to ensure employees are not at risk of either exposing your company to data theft or at risk of exposure to identity theft themselves.
Your First Line of Defense
You are your own first line of defense. Make passwords that are difficult to guess, using a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters, and be sure to change passwords every three months. Create a policy that encourages your employees to do the same. Also, never leave your computer unattended when confidential information is on the screen.
Take Safety Measures with Mobile Devices
Take extra precaution when putting customer data on phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Apps that have access to your information may not have the security level that you need to evade data breaches. Be sure that you only download apps that are legitimate and trustworthy, and that you read their privacy policies.
Your main admin account containing the most critical operations data should be on a computer with a minimal connection to any other device, where the risk of exposure becomes elevated. This way, malware that attempts to penetrate the entire network could be contained within the admin user account and avoid infecting the rest of the system where other data is stored.
Minimize Data You Collect and Store
When collecting data from customers and employees, be sure to only ask for what you absolutely require for business. Keep what you need for only as long as necessary. Then, destroy confidential information when you no longer need it, as part of your record management policy. This way, there’s less data at risk of data being compromised.
Use a Data Protection Service
As data protection becomes increasingly important, it’s also becoming more and more affordable to invest in services that safeguard sensitive data and help prevent cyber theft. Besides company and customer data, including protection for employee data that you keep on file.
Use a Hybrid Solution for Backup
Backing up your data is crucial in the event of ransomware and other cybercrimes, as well as natural disasters and human error. To ensure your data is safe, the best option is a hybrid backup solution. This means your data is stored off of the premises in a cloud, as well as on-site. If on-site data is compromised, you always have another backup on the cloud, where you can recover unencrypted files whenever you want.
You should backup your company’s data regularly to keep it current. Automated backup software makes this easy since backups can consistently run in the background or be scheduled to run each night. Automated backups also make security tighter by removing human involvement in the backup of confidential information.
Do What You Can
With the ongoing threats of ransomware, identity theft, and other cyber crimes, company data security is more important than ever, no matter the size of your business. Fortunately, there are protocols you can follow and solutions you can invest in to significantly diminish your risk of data breaches.