12 Ways for Small Businesses to Keep Their Data Safe
Did you know that companies incur roughly $6 trillion in damages from cybercrime?
This is a risk businesses have to take to remain competitive in today’s economy. After all, what’s a business without customer data and online services and transactions?
Data security is no longer solely a large corporation concern. Small businesses also need to be cautious as they’ve become easy targets. Luckily, you can take measures to reduce your susceptibility to hacks.
Here are several ways to keep your data safe.
- Only Collect What You Need
Sure, collecting customer data allows you to tailor services based on customer behavior. But, more is not always better for small business data.
The more data you collect, the more susceptible you become to cyber threats. Only collect information essential for your business, as you’ll have greater control.
Also, avoid collecting data on customers’ personal and identification information. This information is valuable to hackers who sell people’s identities. Instead of collecting personal information, ask customers to create unique identities and passwords.
- Understand Your Data
You can only protect the information you understand. You’ll need to collect your data strategically to make it easier to store.
Differentiate sensitive data from the rest and develop measures to ensure its safety. Separating the data can reduce your data security expenses.
- Create a Security Policy
Data protection goes beyond finding software solutions. You’ll need to create data security policies specific to your company. For this, you’ll need a team of security strategists.
Then, you’ll need to assess your security provider’s commitment to protecting information. Don’t assume that your chosen security provider is always working.
Schedule regular meetings to discuss their security protocols and adjust them in light of new threats. If need be, change your provider since you may end up losing too much in the long run.
- Invest in Email Encryption Solutions
Did you know that the average person tackles roughly 112 emails per day? As a result, emails are an important source of company data.
Invest in email encryption software that allows only the intended recipients to read emails. Also, find solutions that scan and eliminate suspicious emails from your inbox. Hackers may use emails to send harmful links to your company’s networks.
- Observe Privacy Regulations
Data protection regulations are there to protect consumers’ data from misuse. Failure to follow these regulations is costly and can compromise business operations.
Understand how GDPR affects small businesses before collecting customer data. Then, implement the safety procedures outlined by the regulation. Remember, you save more than you spend by following the set-out privacy laws.
- Update Your Software
Don’t ignore update notifications from your computers and mobile devices. Technology providers develop new security patches to keep hackers at bay.
Bear in mind that the longer you continue to use an outdated system, the higher the chance of attack. Schedule software updates weekly to protect data. Most companies perform software updates at night when they are least busy.
- Separate Business from Personal Computers
Most work-at-home business owners use the same computers for personal and business activities. While this is cost-efficient, it can prove problematic for your company’s data.
The situation is worse if you allow kids to use your computer. Most of them download games that may introduce viruses to your device. Invest in at least two computers, even if you work from home and only use one for business.
- Secure Your Network
Many small businesses connect personal and business devices to the same network. This, however, is risky as it allows hackers to move laterally through your network.
All it takes for them to control all your devices is access to one. Protect your small business data by segmenting your network.
- Back Up Your Data
What would happen if you lost all your data? You’d most likely close shop within a few months because it’s impossible to operate without data.
So, you need to keep several data backups. Maintain at least three copies of your data and store one copy offsite. Offsite storage protects your data from hacks and system crashes.
- Advice Customers to Use Strong Passwords
The easiest way for hackers to access customer data is through weak passwords. Some hackers deduce clients’ passwords from personal information like date of birth.
So, advise your customers against using their personal information as passwords. Also, encourage them to use varying passwords for different sites.
They should also opt for long rather than short passwords. Ideally, passwords should contain numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols.
- Train Your Employees
Your employees will handle customer data often. They must know how to protect the information.
Educate them on the latest hacking schemes, so they know what to avoid. Also, ensure they understand privacy laws to protect your company from lawsuits.
- Don’t Underestimate Yourself or Your Threats
Most small business owners assume that hackers are only concerned with large companies. But, this is not the case, as the most accessible targets attract hackers.
Don’t make yourself an easy target by refusing to invest in data security. Even you have information that’s valuable to cybercriminals.
Keep Your Data Safe By Following These Tips
Today, small businesses are more susceptible than ever to cyber-attacks. Hackers are constantly improving their tricks, and so should you. Keep your data safe to ensure business continuity and reduce the risk of data loss.
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