3 Ways to Ensure Brand Safety & Customer Security

The statistics for data theft, online fraud and cybercrime make for disturbing reading.  It seems that every day we learn that another business has been hacked and sensitive financial and customer information has been put at risk on the “dark web.” The government may not be ready to regulate Facebook’s data security and privacy practices, but when you see Mark Zuckerburg testifying before Congress, you can bet that we’re not far from a tipping point.

In fact, studies show that approximately one-third of small businesses fall victim to online crimes such as hacking, malware infections, and data breaches each year.  Keeping your business secure and safe online is now more critical than ever.

Thankfully, there are 3 steps you can take that will dramatically reduce the chances that your brand falls victim to cybercrime:

1. Control Access

One of the biggest benefits of running your business in the cloud is that you are able to access all the important information from anywhere in the world, just so long as you have an internet connection. As a result, it becomes even more essential than ever to always be in complete control of who is given the necessary passwords and login information that enables them to access your systems.

It’s especially important to ensure you control the access of former or temporary employees, removing their details from the database as soon as their time with your company has finished. While they themselves may not have any malicious intent towards your company, in the event of their own online details being compromised an attacker might find they have a way into your enterprise. Under the new GDPR regulations, such a compliance failure could result in your company being assessed a crippling fine. To help you understand the imminent GDPR regulations and how they will impact your business, check out this useful infographic produced by Sage to get you ready for GDPR.

2. Don’t Rely on a Single Line of  Defense

The ever-present threats of cybercrime and data security breaches means that every business needs to implement a multi-faceted approach if it wants to remain safe.

Data breaches are often the result of a flaw or bug in programs that lie undiscovered for weeks or months before being exploited. If you have only a single line of defense between the outside world and your data, you leave yourself far more vulnerable in such a situation.

A more proactive and strategic plan is to install multiple layers of defense to protect your data. This not only reduces the chances of an outside attacker being able to work their way in but also reduces the chances of members of your staff coming into contact with malicious emails or scam websites.

Employing the services of a dynamic, third-party security provider, using a high-level of encryption for all emails and other messages and employed multi-factor authentication systems to protect emails and payments are all strategies you can employ to bolster your defenses.

3. Secure your Systems

Having a firewall protects your internal network from outside threats. For optimum security, they should be installed not just on your servers but also on all the office computers and laptops used by your employees. If you have a policy where members of your staff can make use of their own devices to connect to the company network, these should be fitted with firewalls as well. In any case, ensure all systems are fitted with the most up-to-date anti-malware and antivirus software.

Your primary wireless network should be restricted to members of staff only and protected with a strong password. If you want guests or visitors to be able to get online, create a separate network just for them with its own password. This will prevent malicious visitors from entering your main network and getting access to your corporate data.

Don’t let cybercrime interrupt your business and put your critical and sensitive data at risk.  Transformative leaders embrace strategic approaches to growing and protecting their business.  To learn more, read my new book, Marketing, Interrupted, where I share some of the best lessons I’ve encountered over years of working with companies to tackle the unique challenges of marketing technology and data security in the digital age. Learn from category definers and transformative leaders at brands like Amazon, Apple, Netflix — and hear their stories of success (and failure) along the way.