Did you know that data breaches often result in businesses shutting down? Even if a company is thriving and winning in the market every day, all of that can be lost with just one cyber attack. With business secrets out, customer trust lost, and a ruined brand reputation, it’s often not possible to rebuild. Many business owners are unaware of the threat of data breaches and run their daily operations using very weak cybersecurity infrastructure. Successful business owners must avoid this mistake at all costs. In this article, you’ll learn 6 easy ways to protect your business data and maintain trust with your customers.
1. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are the key to all of your important business data, and you want your key to be as secure as possible. Using weak passwords means securing your data with a weak lock. Through various types of cyber attacks, hackers can break that lock in no time. It’s just a matter of when they decide to do so.
Use long and complicated passwords for every single one of your business accounts. The best way to secure your passwords without worrying about forgetting them is by using a password manager for business. This simple tool will remember your passwords and keep them protected behind strong encryption.
2. Raise Phishing Awareness
Phishing is one of the biggest threats to any business’s data security, and you need to ensure that all employees are aware of it. Phishing is when fraudsters send text messages or emails to people and pretend to be someone they’re not. These messages usually aim to steal specific data from people or trick them into making purchases on their behalf.
People who aren’t educated on the most common phishing schemes are very likely to give away their information if they get targeted. So, you should set some clear communication protocols with your employees. Instruct them to never send their passwords through email, never click on random links they receive through email and verify any suspicious requests before taking action.
3. Keep Sensitive Data Under Wraps
The more accessible sensitive data is across your employee base, the higher the risk of a data breach. Members of your company might leak your data on purpose: insider threats are actually a huge problem. You never know when someone will fall for a phishing scheme and give away important data. It’s best to keep the most important business data under wraps on a secure cloud server and ensure that only a handful of people have access to it on a need to know basis.
4. Install Anti-Malware Tools
Each business desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device should have antimalware tools installed. The most important to install are a firewall and antivirus software. These cybersecurity technolgies will keep ransom ware and malware out of your work devices and away from your sensitive customer and business data. Many devices come with antivirus software and a firewall pre-installed, but you should make sure that they’re enabled at all times.
5. Use Encryption
Encryption ensures that your customer and business data is safe from outsiders. To start, make sure that your office network is encrypted. This is the network where all of the most important business data is transmitted, and it’s the most likely network to be targeted by hackers. Next, set up Virtual Private Networks (VPN) for all of your business devices, which will keep business data encrypted even if the network is not. For example, public WiFi networks often offer no encryption, and you can never know when employees might connect to one of these when they are out of the office. Whenever employees connect to any network other than your office’s, they should be using a VPN.
Finally, you can also set up encryption for business email. If all else fails and employees connect to an unencrypted network without a VPN, then at least their emails will be encrypted and useless to cyber thieves.
6. Back It Up
If all of your business devices were lost, would your data still be safe and backed up? Most businesses have some sort of data backup set up, but it’s often not good enough. Your backup should be as safe and as updated as possible. If the data in your business is constantly changing, you should update the backup every day, or maybe even every hour. The backup should also be reliable. Maybe even keep a couple of backups to be absolutely sure that the data is always safe and secure.
The most important data within your business might get leaked or lost tomorrow. With the rate at which such cybersecurity incidents have been growing, you can never be sure your business is safe. Follow these data security tips to minimize the risk of a breach and protect the continuity of your business. If you want to keep up with how data security and privacy is transforming the business world as we know it, follow @TopRightPartner on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, subscribe to my blog, and buy a copy of my latest book published by Harvard Business Review, Strategic Analytics.