If you’ve had one eye on the news over the past year, you have probably heard about at least one data breach that has happened to a big, otherwise reputable company. A new breach seems to happen fairly frequently, which is terrifying if you happen to be a customer of that business.
All the sudden, very sensitive data such as your home address and credit card information could be in the hands of hackers who intend to sell it to the highest bidder. This can cause all kinds of headaches, and make customers not want to patronize that particular business anymore. If you own your own business, you want to ensure that such a thing can never happen to you. This is why you need to know these data protection tips for your business.
When thinking about your company’s data security, the first thing you should do is to take a look at the current protection you have right now. See how well it performs and whether or not it is vulnerable at all. In some cases, your current security system is fine, but may need a slight upgrade or two to make it more secure. In other cases, you may want to overhaul everything completely and start from scratch. If that is the case, you will want to look at a few key things before proceeding.
First things first, you should identify the most important data that needs to be safeguarded. If you sell things online or keep a client database, especially with addresses and credit card information, this should be at the top of the list. The reason is that most hackers value this information above others, since they can use it for their financial gain the most. If you keep an employee database, especially with social security numbers or copies of their tax or other financial documents, then this should also be at the top of the list.
Now that you know which information is the most sensitive within the database, you can then determine which of your employees should have access to it. For small or medium sized companies, a lot of time a passcode generated for an operator can access anything. This is not very safe, though. Decide who needs to know what, and who needs access to what, then make sure their login and password only allow them to access that particular info.
Next, you should decide if you want to encrypt the system using employees you already have, or hire outside sources. If you do not have your own in-house IT department, then you may need to call in an established IT support company to help you with the setup and launching. There are lots of reputable companies who specialize in this kind of network, so do not be afraid to do a little research and see who can help the company the most. It may also help to set up a budget in advance and see who can meet that budget.
Remember when deploying these solutions that a lot of users are mobile these days. If someone works from home or travels a lot for work and has to access the company database remotely, then that device they use for access needs to be secure, as well. It isn’t enough just to update the office computers if tablets or cell phones can log in from afar as well. Make sure all devices, mobile or not, have software that is secure and guards against viruses, which can circumvent security measures to get information.
Another thing to remember is that not all data is digital. Lots of sensitive information is also on paper. Invest in a good shredder to ensure that this info is not compromised. Get a powerful one that can also shred credit cards and CDs that may have info as well. Make sure all employees understand what documents need to be destroyed before they can be thrown away or recycled. Any new system like this only works if everyone is on board and knows what is expected of them. Depending on the size of the office, more than one shredder may be needed.
Finally, you need to ensure that you have an individual or team in place to keep an eye on the system and make sure your new safeguards stay safe. That means a dedicated employee who can stop potential threats in their tracks and keep the reputation of your company golden for years to come. The simple addition of one person to oversee things for you can go a long way towards giving you some peace of mind that a breach will not happen on your watch. This makes your customers happy as well, and makes them more likely to continue doing business with you if they know their data is safe.