Keeping client data safe is vital for any business. We look at some of the key steps you need to take in order to have strong business data protection.
How would you like to wake up to a $3 million hole in your balance sheet? That’s how much your business could lose after a cybersecurity breach. Aside from the financial hit, your company’s reputation can take a severe dip that’s hard to turn around once malicious actions strike. With such stakes on the table, ensuring your business has top of the line cybersecurity is critical to its survival. Let’s take a look at some business data protection ideas to help you preserve your customers’ security and privacy.
1. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your firm’s information, but they can only be effective when appropriately used. Your employees must use different passwords for each system they access. It may feel cumbersome, but it’s hard to steal data when you need a new password with each instance.
Adopt a password manager so that your staff can find it easier to use different passwords on each system. With a password manager, all they will need to do is recall one master password.
Additionally, use strong passwords that rely on at least eight characters, numbers, and symbols. These are harder to crack and help stop more straightforward breaches in their tracks.
You should also sensitive your staff on best practices in using passwords while at work. Train them on avoiding passwords that are easy to guess, such as birthdays or the names of family members.
You can also begin timing out passwords across the system. That will give your staff the impetus they need to regularly change their passwords as a stale one gets easier to crack in time.
2. Regulate Access
How your team access the information they require has an impact on the level of security your system has. It is not every employee that requires unfettered access to the system to get their work done. A mandatory login system is an elemental requirement that helps screen which employees are using the system and for how long.
Once you adopt a login system, you can make automatic logouts after a set period a feature. That way, should an employee leave their device unattended, the chances of an intruder accessing the system via such a device are minimized. The automatic logout period should not be too long, but neither should it be too short as that can interfere with the team’s workflow.
When an employee leaves the organization, you should immediately revoke any access rights they had to avoid potential breaches. These privileges include any passwords, access codes, or keywords they used while working for the organization.
3. Disposing of Data Correctly
How you get rid of the customer data you already have can be a loophole in your security unless you do it properly. Developing a data destruction policy for your business codifies the protocol that present and future employees can use when it comes to protecting your data during destruction.
When you are getting rid of devices the business has been using, you should take care to scrub the data off them. Failure to do that might allow a malicious actor to retrieve sensitive company information that compromises the safety and privacy of your customers.
It’s not just the hardware that needs a destruction protocol but also your software. For example, when you delete customer information from your hard drive, it does not mean it’s gone. Similarly, reinstalling your operating system doesn’t wipe all your data.
A malicious actor can easily gain access to your information using free data retrieval tools. In such cases, you should make sure that your data disposal partner overwrites the data you want to delete several times. That will make it unrecoverable even with retrieval tools.
4. Automatic Updates
A favored method of conducting cybersecurity breaches bad actors use is to scan a firm’s system for old software that has known bugs. Since these system vulnerabilities date back to a previous period, there is a public record of how to use them for exploits.
In light of this, you need to set the software the firm uses to download and install new updates that developers push automatically. Installing the latest fixes and patches helps minimize the possible points bad actors can use to hack into your system and steal customer data.
5. Secure Online Payments
Do your customers pay using online platforms? Then that increases the probability of your being a target for malicious actors. Customer transaction information is valuable on the black market, and how you store, hold, and transmit customer card information is critical.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) outlines basic PCI security standards a business should adopt to protect their customer card information. Adopt these standards across your system to ward off potential card-related breaches.
6. Only Keep Data You Need
While data is the new oil, you don’t need to hoard every bit of it if it doesn’t help your business. The more information you hold, the juicer of a target you become in the eyes of malicious actors.
For example, if you only need the customers’ names, then storing their birthday information only increases the probability that you will get hacked. Vet the customer data you hold to assess its importance in your operation so that you avoid any unnecessary risk.
7. Draft a Breach Policy
Part of keeping your customer data safe involves knowing what to do once you detect a possible data breach. You need a premeditated plan that everyone in the firm can follow to ensure customer privacy and safety after a reach.
Conduct a network security audit to identify potential weak spots in your core infrastructure that needs addressing. You can follow this audit up with a further assessment of auxiliary units in your technology infrastructure to close off any loopholes that an intruder can use.
Once you spot and close off all weak spots, use the information you’ve gleaned to document every part of your business’ technology system and possible actions to take during an attack.
Do You Need Business Data Protection?
Every year businesses stand to lose money and suffer damaged reputations due to cybersecurity breaches. Such extreme risks make business data protection a high priority in your overall strategy. Protect your customers’ security and privacy to differentiate yourself from the pack.
Do you have a cybersecurity emergency? FL Nerds has 20 years’ experience in helping firms protect their customer data. Talk to us for round the clock assistance on keeping your technology system safe.