You’ve likely seen the stories in the news in recent years about company’s having their personal and customer data breached.
Whether it is major players like Sony and Target or smaller businesses that you have never heard of before, the financial damages have been staggering at times. Worse yet, a company’s trust with consumers can be severely crippled, leading it to have to try and win back many of those customers.
So, have you taken a look at your Internet security procedures, reviewing where you are strongest and where you need to do some work?
If not, think about how just one data security breach against your company could impact how you go about doing business in 2016 and hopefully beyond.
Security System Reviews
In order to lower the odds of your brand falling victim to a data breach, remember these key tidbits:
- Security protection – First and foremost, do you have the proper security system in place to better thwart identity theft thieves? If not, look to see what is available on the market that will best suit your needs. Just as consumers can turn to an ITP Bureau or other such providers who can offer them critical information to protect against identity theft, business owners must do likewise, especially those who run online stores etc. Such a provider has a rating system in place to assess important factors that individuals would take into account when looking for a service to signal warning signs and ultimately thwart identity theft attacks;
- Employee awareness – Given the fact those you employ (consider yourself the employee if you run a one-person small business) are your first line of defense against identity theft thieves, it is crucial that those on the frontlines stand guard against any data breach attempts. Yes, identity theft thieves are some of the smartest criminals on the lot, but they can be thwarted with the right security plan. Employees must be aware of and report any suspicious attempts to hack company computers. From questionable emails asking to download attachments to leaving company and customer data exposed in public places when employees might be working in a library, café or while on the road traveling for work, there are myriad of options for hackers to try and break-in to a company’s computer system. It is important that you have the same rigid standards regarding data protection in place for your mobile employees, including those you outsource work to. Whenever any of those employees leave your employ, make sure you change-up username and password entries into your system. While most of those who leave your employ are not ones to worry about, remember, just one identity theft thief can do a world of damage, including those who once might have been on your payroll. Lastly, properly assign customer and company data, so that not all employees have access to the most sensitive items. For example, there is no reason for someone on your marketing team to need access to customer financials, log-ins to customer sites etc. Be sure only those with a need for such data have access to it, along with making sure they do not share it with others in the company;
- Are your providers truly secure? – Never overlook the importance of partnering with secure web hosting providers and others in the technology chain of your business. Any third parties you do business with should be required to sign a form indicating they have necessary security in place to oversee your company’s pertinent data. Also look at data encryption, including the idea of encrypting your company’s email when sensitive information is being passed around;
- Review and remove – Finally, it is imperative that your company reviews its security procedures and those you do business with on a regular basis. Just like you should be reviewing your company culture from time to time, the same holds true for your company’s security procedures. Search for cracks in the armor, with the plan to fix such holes. Also remove any online data that is no longer of use to your business. This also means properly discarding any and all paper trails as it relates to company and customer data.
With all the different avenues that data breaches can come from, it may seem at times a tad overwhelming for you and your business to stay one step ahead of hackers.
Given all you and your brand stand to lose if a data breach is successfully committed against your business, make sure you’re prepared to stop hackers in their tracks.
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About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology topics on the web.