Data breach and stolen information has been something of a flashpoint in the media recently. In each news cycle there is another leak or mass hack of personal information, leaving businesses and their countless customers left hanging with their private information laid bare.
As a business, you have a responsibility to do everything in your power to prevent a data breach. You owe it to your investors, your customers and yourself. A proactive approach in information security could prevent a rending data breach and protect your private information. The following are ten simple steps that you can take immediately for protecting your company’s data.
1. Outsource payment processing: Avoid handling credit card data internally and rely on reputable technology and service providers for a point of sale system. If you cannot make the necessary strides to secure information, it’s best not to risk anything.
2. Separate social media from financial activity: Use a dedicated device for online banking and a different device for email and social media. All personal devices should be kept away from business systems and clear of financial information.
3. Think beyond passwords: Never reuse password, and don’t trust any website to store them securely and use two-factor authentication for forgotten passwords. Keep them complex and never store them in the open.
4. Educate Employees: Establish a written policy about what types of information are sensitive and communicate it to all employees. Many attack points are simply due to ignorance of the likelihood of breach.
5. Stay Informed: Evaluate the entire chain of events in a potential attack and identify where an organization is most a risk. Think diagnostically and prevent an attack before it happens.
6. Stop Transmission of data that is not encrypted: Mandate encryption of all data and consider encrypting email if personal information is transmitted.
7. Secure Browsers: Keep browsers up to date and test for weaknesses. With a few simple clicks, most browsers will update themselves.
8. Secure the operating system: It’s far easier for hackers to break into older operating systems such as Windows XP or OS X 10.6. It’ll help your security and your business.
9. Secure the router: Set a strong administration password on the company router and a WPA password on the Wi-Fi. Follow the above notes on passwords.
10. Secure Company Data: Keep backups encrypted and offsite.
These few steps are a strong start to protecting your business information from hacks or a data breach. Above all, stay vigilant and always be prepared to meet a new threat with new tactics. Data protection is work, but its necessary work for the ease that computing provides to a business owner.